Business Leader Sells Himself Short

| General

The providers of legal services need to select the right people and put them in the correct position to carry the business forward. A recent case which has hit the legal headlines on 12th October 2022 goes a long way to proving that recruitment is key. The headline figure of the case appears to be that the legal professional employed as the Manager of a legal office had made the decision to steal equipment from his employer and if this conduct was not bad enough, he then took it upon himself to dispose of the property on a leading internet e-commerce sales website without the knowledge of the respective employer.

What Happened In The Case?

The case involved a person who had been employed by a provider of legal services in the city of London in his capacity as the Manager of the Office. He had commenced employment with the organization and had accrued just short of three decades worth of experience with the respective employer, built solid working relationships with the business, and was in a position of trust. However, the office manager seemingly repaid the trust his employer had shown in him by dishonestly collaborating with another member of staff to steal just shy of fifty thousand pounds worth of equipment. This on its own was serious enough. However, when the matter was examined by the investigators they discovered evidence relating to forty-eight. 

The order handed down by the office manager had been prevented from being involved in the provision of legal services due to evidence of him appropriating property that belonged to his employer, dishonestly it on internet shopping websites in the absence of the awareness of the firm employing him.

What Did The Solicitors Regulation Authority Say?

Legal industry regulator, the Solicitors Regulation Authority reviewed the evidence and questioned the integrity of the legal professional due to the behavior he had exhibited. In this regard, the panel imposed a section 43 order against him the effect of this was to stop the manager of the legal office from becoming involved in any work-related activities for any provider of legal services which is subject to constraints of a legal nature. The regulator made clear that should the manager of the office have any desire to carry out such work in the future then he would be obliged to approach the Solicitors Regulation Authority for prior authorization. 

Lessons Learned?

All legal professionals reading this saddest of cases need to be mindful of:

  • realizingng the fortunate situation they are in especially having accrued such a lengthy amount of expertise
  • being aware that the action of stealing from an employer will be treated incredibly seriously by their employer and any decision to do so will mean potential punishments
  • the likelihood of having their employment and lucrative career terminated if they fail to think through their actions
  • conducting themselves in a professional, ethical and honest manner consistently and
  • considering the possible effect such behavior might have on those potentially affected by criminal activity

Legal professionals need to be steering well clear of stealing from their respective employers, disposing of it via property sales on internet eCommerce websites, and handling stolen goods. They are in the prestigious position of having achieved a relatively successful career, are in a trusted position of responsibility, and would be best advised to steer clear of stealing property from their employers and disposing of it on internet sale websites.

Written by Adam Green


#DLAPiper #CliffordChance #HoganLovells #Linklaters #Allen&Overy #Latham&Watkins #FreshfieldBrukhausDeringer #Ashurst #NortonRoseFulbright


[SOURCE 1] Hyde, John – Office Manager Barred for selling City’s firm’s property on eBay – Law Society Gazette – 12 October 2022 - Office manager barred for selling City firm’s property on eBay | News | Law Gazette

[SOURCE 2] Warwick, Glen – Solicitors Regulation Authority – 6th September 2022 - SRA | Warwick, Glen - 7002636 | Solicitors Regulation Authority

[SOURCE 3] Section 43 applications and order – Weightmans - Section 43: Unqualified persons and the SRA | Weightmans

[SOURCE 4] Section 99 Legal Services Act 2007 - SRA | Guidance | Solicitors Regulation Authority



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