Lawyers rush to defend Leigh Day paralegals suspended for allegedly ‘touting’ for Grenfell Tower fire business

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By Katie King on

A lot of love shared in the Legal Cheek comments

Lawyers have attempted to weather the Leigh Day Grenfell Tower storm this week, using social media and the Legal Cheek comments section to defend the firm’s embattled paralegals.

First a quick recap of the story: allegations two paralegals had been “touting” for Grenfell Tower business have recently come to the fore. The pair’s names, Harnita Rai and Sejal Sachania, reportedly appeared on a poster offering free legal support to fire victims. A disclaimer on the poster apparently stated that a third party “may charge for their services”. Significantly, it is being reported that the poster in question did not contain official Leigh Day contact details for the two rookies, but listed non-work email addresses instead.

The top human rights firm has suspended the training contract hopefuls while an internal investigation is pursued, but did the paralegals do wrong? Not everyone is convinced.

Take Richard Moorhead. In a lengthy Twitter thread, the UCL academic said that “the evidence of ‘touting’ by two clerks appears to be a poster. A poster is not touting”. He continued:

Lawyer Andrew Vickerstaff suggested suspending the paralegals was a “heavy handed” move by the firm:

While others expressed their concern via the Legal Cheek comments section. Here’s a flavour of some of the comments we’ve received:

This surprises me. At some outfits this would be deemed “showing initiative”.

Unclear why this is so wrong if they truly were only offering free legal support?

Provided the firm was not mentioned on the poster, what is the issue with this?

Some balance has been provided by the Mail Online comments section and other social media users. Over at the former, one commenter said the firm has “no morals or ethics at all”; another described its lawyers as “lower then a snakes belly” (sic). One reader commented: “Time to clamp down on legal aid….the system is being exploited and abused by lawyers and criminals/terrorists.”

It’s worth noting the likes of these tweets too:

When we got in touch with Leigh Day to get its take on all this, we were told the firm is unable to comment because an internal investigation is ongoing. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) too is unable comment at this stage, and will only be able to do so if and when a regulatory decision is taken. It is worth noting SRA rules prohibit cold calling and other similarly intrusive methods, but this does not mean all promotional/marketing material is banned.

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