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Paralegal who worked for two firms at the same time barred from legal profession

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18

A big price to pay for some extra cash

A paralegal who handled cases for one law firm while being employed by another has been banned from working in the legal profession.

Eugenia Dakwa worked at Camden-based law firm Greenland Lawyers until December 2014. Wasting no time in securing new employment, she joined Bates Wells & Braithwaite (BW&B) in Ipswich as a “legal administrator” in January 2015.

A regulatory settlement agreement reveals that Dakwa, just one month into the job, entered into an “informal agreement with Greenland to work for them on their clients’ matters.” The decision — recently published on the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) website — continues:

This work was to be done by Ms Dakwa, according to Greenland, in the evenings at the firm’s offices.

Unfortunately Dakwa was, under the terms of her BW&B contract, not allowed to have other employment outside the firm without prior written permission. Moreover, Dakwa — who completed her Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) at the College of Law (now The University of Law) in 2004 — did not tell her new employer about her arrangement with Greenland and was actually conducting the additional work on BW&B time.

Eventually, BW&B discovered what the time-poor paralegal was up to and launched a formal investigation.

It discovered, among other things, that the University of Kent graduate was sending “a significant number” of emails to Greenland clients during BW&B’s office hours, and “conducting and updating work” for Greenland clients on BW&B’s systems. BW&B instigated disciplinary proceedings against her in May 2015 and dismissed her shortly afterwards.

The regulator said that her “conduct was neither trivial nor justifiably inadvertent”. Dakwa apologised for her actions and agreed that a section 43 order — which bans her from working for an SRA-regulated body without its prior permission — was an appropriate sanction.

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18 Comments

Anonymous

My sides are splitting! No great loss to the profession by the sounds of it

(15)(12)

Anonymous

You are a flippant and horrible person…….

(9)(10)

Irwin Mitchell Trainee

Instead of kicking everyone out of the profession, why don’t the SRA actually do some regulating? My salary is composed almost entirely of digestives!

(57)(3)

Irwin Mitchell Paralegal

Oh, look at Mr la-de-da, show off “I actually receive pay”, with your biscuits! Last month my salary was my supervisor not kicking me in the ribs, and I had to thank him in front of the whole team!

(63)(3)

Anonymous

If none of your contracts stated otherwise would you be allowed to work for two law firms?

(11)(2)

Anonymous

Some consultants most surely do this quite regularly.

(16)(1)

Anonymous

I can’t see why not as long as there is no conflict of interest. Most employment contracts will have a clause to this effect though, pretty standard stuff.

And, even then, if you use one company’s time/assets to do work for another, that’s never going to end well – conflict or not.

(10)(1)

WhatdoIknow

I think kicking her out of the profession is a bit extreme! Yes, she made a mistake but what were the reasons? Did she need the money I’m guessing? If you compare it to the Med student who tabbed her BF and the judge thought that she should get off with a bit of community service because any other sentencing would damage her career or the 28-year-old model who stole £1000 worth of good from Harrods but was again let off because she was deemed a ‘talented’ student, it seems a bit unfair for someone to be treated so harshly for having two jobs!!

(84)(2)

Anonymous

It’s a disgraceful decision

(11)(3)

Cockney Geezer

Some one asked a legal question ‘ere on LC?!
253.
You can work for more than one firm if:
1. Your contracts allow it (rare, never seen it)
Or you don’t have a contract.
2. No conflicts
3. You don’t take the piss (with the firms’ time and assets.

They don’t like it when they find out though.
And they will find out.
Collecting and delivering the firms’ mail to the wrong firms is a dead give away. Don’t do it. You will get sussed.
So it’s most useful when changing firms, on temp posts, or when you know a bunch of prospective firms are trying to mug you off and the trick is to find the one that is fair n square wiv ya.
Grow up kiddies.

(3)(2)

Cockney Geezer

People wot av no clue bout effics in the legal profession, is wot’s really cool bout this site.
People who is obviously not lawyers but opine like wot they are.
Wot a bubble n baff

(2)(6)

Anonymous

SRA being SRA – nothing new. Absolutely useless.

(3)(2)

Thomas Connelly correction please

Thomas, if you click the link in your article you will see that the paralegal entered into an agreement with the sra by consent. She has not been barred, as I read it, she must seek the sra’ s permission to work for a solicitors’ firm in future. Look at clause 1.1 between sub paras vi and b. Check with your source but it looks like a correction is needed. Kind regards

(7)(9)

Anonymous

If she can’t work without permission then that is essentially a ‘ban’…

Also I doubt the ‘consent’ was particularly voluntary…

(12)(3)

Anonymous

You didn’t have the concentration or the forensic ability to read the sra agreement properly first time round, so i helped you out. You should change the story and improve as a journalist, if the comment is yours, not assert your right to be mediocre with rubbish observations like those above. So should the journalist at the Gazette. See the link below.

(1)(4)

David Lloyd-Travers

I am shocked and saddened.

(1)(1)

Sir Geffroy De Joinville

Their source is I fear the Gazette (11th August) and it has got it wrong too.
Madamemoiselle Dawka could make some monaie here, if she plays her cards right.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/law-firm-administrator-banned-for-moonlighting/5062438.article

(3)(3)

BanterLadess

Stop copying ROF

(3)(2)

Comments are closed.