Rookie who trained at Weightmans claimed it was ‘an honest mistake’
A former junior lawyer at international law firm DLA Piper who made inaccurate claims about her legal qualifications has been struck off by the Solicitor Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT).
Tania Bains embellished a number of her undergraduate law degree and Legal Practice Course (LPC) module results in her application for a training contract at national outfit Weightmans, and then later for an associate position at DLA Piper.
Bains, who obtained a 2:1 from the University of Wales, spent three years as a paralegal at Irwin Mitchell before landing a training contract at Weightmans in 2013. Once qualified, she joined DLA Piper’s finance and projects team — a role she applied for using a recruitment agency.
According to a judgment published by the SDT this week, Weightmans later reported Bains to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) after it discovered a copy of her misleading CV on its internal IT system.
The SDT heard how details relating to Bains’ LLB in her original training contract application conflicted with those held on record by the Univerity of Wales. Bains omitted a number of modules, included others she had never studied, and inflated the marks of some she had received.
The misleading information didn’t stop there. The SDT heard how all 11 of her LPC module grades differed from those held on file by her course provider, The Univesity of Law. A comparison (screenshotted below) was included in the judgment.
Appearing before the SDT, Bains claimed the score discrepancies were “an honest mistake” and that she had filled in the application from memory. Bains also said she had provided Weightmans with her LLB and LPC results during an assessment day and that the firm never queried the results. The tribunal found her explanation “not plausible or credible”.
Turning to the CV Bains submitted via a recruiter, the SDT heard how it contained details from two colleagues’ CVs and also the Weightmans website. Bains claimed she had used one of her colleague’s CV as a template, however, due to time constraints placed upon her by the recruiter, she had forgotten to go back and change various details. On this, the SDT said:
“As a result of the respondent’s [Bains] false statements, she was able to obtain a job at DLA Piper by deception as the untrue information contained within her CV may well have given her an unfair advantage over other candidates. In any event, the information was not true and she knew it was not true. The tribunal had no doubt that this would be regarded as dishonest by the standards of ordinary decent people. The tribunal was satisfied the respondent had acted dishonestly.”
The tribunal ordered Bains to be struck off and pay £6,000 in costs.