What Thomas Did Law Manager Banned Over Deceitful Behaviour

In late March 2023, the Solicitors Regulation Authority handed down its judgment in the case of a legal professional acting in a management capacity after it uncovered evidence of unprofessional behavior committed by him in the form of dishonestly helping himself to monies belonging to clients and inexplicably forging his legal adviser’s signature on paperwork connected with client monies. The matter was taken incredibly seriously by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and it banned him from working in the industry.  

What Happened In The Case?

The legal professional at the heart of the matter appears to have been provided with employment by the legal services provider in his capacity as a non-law manager. For the avoidance of doubt, he had not achieved the mantle of a solicitor. All appear to have been progressing well for his career until the legal industry enforcement arm the Solicitors Regulation Authority seems to have felt compelled to launch a probe into his behavior during his tenure of employment with the provider of legal services. When it did so they discovered some concerning evidence which raised questions for the person in the trusted managerial position. Quite apart from acting in the best interests of the provider of legal services and acting with honesty and integrity in the course of his day-to-day working life, the manager appeared to have forged the signature on some documentation connected with client cases including an important statement provided by a witness and an undertaking. This form of conduct on its own was serious enough. However, the legal manager appears to have gone a stage further. He seems to have imitated the legal professional from whom he had forged the signature by both the use of written correspondence and telephone.
Arguably even more seriously the manager inexcusably neglected his professional duties to:
-    keep updated accounts
-    conduct reconciliations and
-    permit monies belonging to clients to be removed. 
There was a causal link between the latter course of action and a deficit in the designated client account.      

What Did The Solicitors Regulation Authority Say?

The Solicitors Regulation Authority appears to have been unimpressed by the unprofessional behavior exhibited by the legal profession at the heart of the proceedings in the case. It commented that his decision to do so was wholly and entirely intentional. Like many aspects of life perception and optics are of growing importance. In this regard, legal industry regulator the Solicitors Regulation Authority further observed that instead of acting honestly and upholding the perceived image of both the legal service provider and the profession in the eyes of the wider populous, the person in the trusted management position had behaved deceitfully, with menaces undermined the confidence the public place in the legal profession as a whole. To make an example of the legal manager at the centre of the regulatory disciplinary proceedings the regulator handed down an order preventing and restricting him from operating in a leadership or other role within a legal services provider in the future.  

Lessons Learned? 

Legal professionals reading this case need to be absorbing the messages of it by:
-    not forging signatures of clients or senior colleagues
-    not imitating superior persons in the organization
-    ensuring updated accounts are kept
-    not helping themselves to client monies
-    acting with honesty and integrity at all times and
-    upholding the confidence of the wider public in the provider and the whole profession. 
If you have experienced something similar, or have an opposing viewpoint, please kindly leave a comment on the article or contact us.  
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