Exclusive: Solicitor suing Oxford Uni over 2:1 trained at Clifford Chance

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By Thomas Connelly on

Faiz Siddiqui bagged a magic circle training contract, but still wants £1 million for lost legal dream


Legal Cheek can exclusively reveal that the 38-year-old solicitor who has taken legal action against Oxford University for ruining his dream legal career trained at Clifford Chance.

Faiz Siddiqui — who gained a 2:1 in modern history from Oxford’s prestigious Brasenose College — took his old uni to court earlier this week over this grade, claiming, via his lawyer, that the “appallingly bad” and “boring” tuition he received more than 16 years ago severely hindered his chances of becoming a “high flying commercial barrister”.

But despite claiming loss of earnings in excess £1 million, it would seem that Siddiqui’s legal career got off to a very strong start. Legal Cheek can confirm that the solicitor bagged himself a highly sought after training contract at magic circle giant Clifford Chance, notably at a time university fees were substantially less than they are now.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) tells us that Siddiqui does not currently hold a practising certificate, and as a result, it isn’t in a position to disclose where he trained at, or his previous employers. However Legal Cheek’s readers were a little more forthcoming, with one taking to our lively comments section to report that Siddiqui had indeed “trained at Clifford Chance”.

We put this information to Clifford Chance and the firm declined to comment.

Furthermore, Legal Cheek has discovered an article on legal research website i-law written by a ‘Faiz Siddiqui’, who describes himself as a lawyer “who trained and qualified at Clifford Chance” before working in the tax departments “of a number of leading law firms”.

Appearing in the High Court on Monday, Siddiqui — represented by 4 New Square’s Roger Mallalieu — suggested that Oxford’s teaching of Asian history wasn’t up to scratch, claiming that more than half the faculty’s lecturers were on sabbatical leave at the same time. As a result, Siddiqui, who appears to have completed his masters in taxation at London’s Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in 2009, argues, again via his lawyer, that he “underachieved significantly” on the course, which prevented him landing a first.

Despite the elite university stating that Siddiqui’s claim was time barred, Mr Justice Kerr — allowing it to proceed to full hearing — said both parties accepted that the course’s resources were stretched, and part of the solicitor’s case had a prospect of success.

Read Justice Kerr’s judgement in full below: