News

London trainee faces career ruin after faking law degree and LPC certificates

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Regulator releases details today of finding against 29-year-old former London South Bank University student

Lead

An erstwhile trainee solicitor faked a law degree and a Legal Practice Course (LPC) certificate in an audacious bid to qualify at a leading Westminster general commercial law firm.

Professional regulators today published a notice of a finding from March last year that Sanjeeva Camillus — who had bagged a training contract at law firm William Sturges — misled his employers about his qualifications.

The former trainee claimed to have gained both a qualifying law degree and an LPC certificate — both requirements for embarking on training contract — but later admitted to having fabricated them.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) — via a website notice — said an investigation had found Camillus had misled both his employers and the regulator.

The wannabe lawyer, who has already been suspended by William Sturges, is now subject to a section 43 order, effectively dashing any hopes of a career in law without prior approval of the SRA.

Camillus — whose LinkedIn profile still lists the 29-year-old as a trainee solicitor at the firm — previously attended London South Bank University.

18 Comments

The Great Gonzo

Is Captain Picard now managing partner at William Sturges? I wondered what he did after leaving Star Trek. Good for him.

(14)(0)

Kaka

Lel @ London South Bank University. Says it all really.

(21)(7)

Fuqua

I went past LSBU once, I got mugged.

(12)(3)

Anonymous

You don’t need to have completed your LPC to be on a training contract?

(2)(6)

Anonymous

It is a terribly worded piece however you look at it.

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Await the influx of comments about another lawyer whose qualifications have been challenged and scrutinised…

(10)(0)

Dimbleworth

Wasn’t it his failure to obtain any qualifications in the first place that rather dashed his hopes of a career in the law?

(27)(0)

Freedom!

“The wannabe lawyer, who has already been suspended by William Sturges, is now subject to a section 43 order, effectively dashing any hopes of a career in law without prior approval of the SRA.” BUT he never had the qualifications to be on the path to a career in law!

(2)(1)

The Great Gonzo

Presumably this only covers reserved legal activities? If so he could still offer human rights advice, for example, if anyone wished to hear his advice that is.

(2)(0)

Anon

Exactly, how this student passed off as academically suitable throughout the TC assessment stages is beyond me.
New HR team recruits, me thinks!

(4)(0)

The Great Gonzo

But, presumably a bright, self-starter with an ability to remember key information could quite easily become a lawyer with very little formal education. Most of what a commercial lawyer learns is on the job. As long as they are not daft and can stomach the hard work needed, can’t see why he would ever have been found out.
In fact, one has to ask: why do lawyers need so much education before they begin?
Is it really necessary? Aren’t we just deluding ourselves as to the importance of ‘in school’ education?

(12)(0)

Pantman

Isn’t the “school” stage just used as a guide to future performance? ie if you have managed to get three A*s and a first then you are showing the recruiter that you have the ability to knuckle-down and do the work. If you have three Cs and a Desmond you’re probably showing the recruiter that you haveā€¦ advanced social skills, particularly in the ordering of beer.

(6)(0)

The Great Gonzo

perhaps, but I would guess that many of the top partners in City firms who are just retiring were not stellar academic successes, instead they applied themselves once they got a chance and then did very well as commercial lawyers who could win clients.
too much focus on academics is contrary to the way law is moving, at least among commercial firms.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

i like both points.

i think though the key issue is that, however you swing it, you do need to be hard working, responsible and (sorry) pretty clever. the academic bit is there to prove that. Remove any of those elements and you’re fairly likely to end up in front of the SDT in my humble view

(0)(0)

Tyrion

@Great Gonzo

I agree that a lot of successful lawyers from previous generations didn’t have formal degrees as such, I worked with a partner who qualified through the old apprentice route and he was pretty good. However times have changed, competition is fierce and expectations are high because other industries are also staffed by increasingly intelligent people. Why should a firm take a chance on a 25 year old with no qualifications when they can take on someone who has proven an ability to work hard and intelligently in school and university. Lawyers limit risks for clients for a living, so why should they expose themselves to risk in their hiring process.

(4)(0)

Jasperlaw

did no genius bother to check before going him a contact?

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Has anyone see that US TV series, Community? This is just like that. Ha ha.

(3)(0)

anon

I do not blame the firm. I guess they were simply giving someone a chance to someone who had not come from the usual middle/upper class background.
It is just a shame he turned out to a fraud.
It is hard out there if you did not attend a top school or do not have the best grades. I hope William Sturges continue to take on people of such background albeit with stringent checks.

(1)(0)

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