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Paralegal and trainee barred from working in law firms

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SRA takes unusual swipe at two junior lawyers

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In two rare separate cases, a paralegal and a trainee have been banned by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) from working for solicitors or in a solicitor-run practice without its permission.

In an SRA decision published this week, Thomas German — a former litigation paralegal at three-solicitor practice Ageas Law — admitted breaching client confidentiality and “failing to encourage equality of opportunity” during his employment at the firm between 30 June 2014 and 4 March 2015.

Specifically, the SRA’s published decision regarding German stated he admitted the breach of client confidentiality:

[B]y sending emails attaching client documents to his partner at another firm of solicitors when this was not required for the proper and effective representation of his clients.

It went on to say that German had sent:

[T]wo emails to his partner in which he made comments that failed to encourage equality of opportunity and respect for diversity.

The SRA found that the paralegal at the alternative business structure firm — which has two offices in Cardiff and Bristol — had breached the Solicitors’ Code of Conduct for these actions.

He has now been banned from working for a solicitor or in a solicitor’s practice without the SRA’s consent.

This is a pretty unusual step for the regulator to take. The vast majority of SRA decisions and those of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, the separate body which hears cases of breaches, relate to solicitors rather than more junior members of staff.

In a separate case from this week, former trainee Mantas Montvydas has also been banned from working in a legal practice without the SRA’s say-so.

He was training at Hull firm Ward Legal, which was closed by the SRA in December last year following the regulator’s finding that:

[T]here is reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of Mr March, manager of Ward Legal (UK) Limited and on the part of an employee of the recognised body, Mr Montvydas.

Montvydas was found to have “made improper transfers from the firm’s client account to the office account, misled the forensic investigation officer and overcharged on two probate matters.”

German has an internal right of appeal to the findings and both juniors have a statutory right of review to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

12 Comments

Anonymous

Is this quite badly written or am I thick? Couldn’t make head nor tail of it, did German send documents to his (romantic) partner at another law firm (not a partner of the firm)?

(22)(0)

Anonymous

His romantic partner does not have a capital P but Partner in firm does….drafting 101…

(9)(14)

Anonymous

Why do people keep on insisting that referring to a partner in a law firm should be an uppercase P? Where does this nonsense come from?

(40)(0)

Free thinking woman

How dare Thomas German offend the principles of equality and diversity?! He’s probably white and cis gender, typical of the phallocentric legal profession. I’m going to write an article on Jezebel about this, and how it triggered me. When will white heterosexuals learn, that they are outdated relics of a bygone age? #downwithbinary

(16)(15)

Anonymous

Bloody non-binary misogynist. Bloody white Privilege.

(5)(1)

Terrible feminist

Free Thinking Woman you didn’t use a trigger warning for your free thinking comment and now I feel unsafe

(13)(3)

Anonymous

Was this article written by a monkey?

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Evidently yes.

(2)(0)

Big Bugger

Sacrifice him!

Get his body!

He has offended the sacred God of Equality and Diversity!

He must be punished severely as a warning to others!

No dissent from the above is allowed!

(8)(2)

Spugg

[T]wo emails to his partner in which he made comments that failed to encourage equality of opportunity and respect for diversity

Just consider that. He wasn’t even ‘racist’ or ‘sexist’ but didn’t actively encourage peecee stuff. Leadsom for PM !!!!

(4)(1)

Quite Amused by Not Amused

Does anyone fancy a pint?

(0)(0)

peterfromglasgow

I found the comments very amusing. Fair cheered me up

(0)(0)

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