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Ex-DLA Piper junior solicitor struck off after falsifying LLB and LPC results

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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.

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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.

Screenshot taken from the SDT’s 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.

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69 Comments

Anonymous

Getting a 50 in BLP and Real Estate is the biggest crime of them all really.

(61)(5)

Anonymous

The fact she had a job at DLA Piper, a sub-standard law firm, should have been strong mitigating evidence.

(18)(33)

Anonymous

Based on…

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Facts.

(10)(9)

Anonymous

Could’ve been even worse, could’ve been CMS 😱

(9)(6)

Anonymous

DLA is the pits!

(9)(7)

Anonymous

I know a bloke who cheated on his university coursework, he ended up at Tarlo Lyons, that seemed suitable punishment for his dishonesty.

(8)(2)

Anonymous

If you can’t be honest about your rampant dishonesty, a successful parliamentary career may well beckon.

(51)(2)

Random passer-by

Why do you need to put LPC grades (or even LLB module grades) in a CV for a job application at NQ level or above? If anyone asked me for my LPC grades at this stage, I’d know this was a firm full of turbc#nts and should best be avoided.

(52)(4)

Anonymous

100% this. I mean, who the actual fuck gives a rat’s about LPC grades once you’re an NQ…

(27)(0)

Anonymous

I was approached by a recruiter not so long ago to discuss a new role 2 years PQE.
The firm were a niche outfit, good at what they do but by no means magic circle. They wanted to know why my GCSE and A Level results were not detailed in my CV, and wanted to know what grades I had achieved. I politely thanked them for their time and declined to interview.

(28)(2)

Anonymous

Sound decision. Why would they like to know your A-levels or even GCSEs is beyond me.

(14)(1)

Anonymous

This is so sad 🙁

(6)(18)

Anonymous

Why?

(16)(8)

Anonymous

It just is. You’re heartless.

(4)(27)

Anonymous

It’s sad because someone lied about their qualifications, got found out, lied some more, attempted to play the race card and then rightfully got struck off?

Apologies, what was I thinking?

How about this – I’m wewwy sowwy your feelings got hurt because the naughty girl was sowwy toooo but still got struck off. Better?

(33)(10)

Anonymous

Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. You can’t be human writing things like that. You must be dead inside.

(4)(34)

Anonymous

Ah the ad hominem now!

Okay – Please convince me why I should feel “sad” about a deceptive liar being caught out? This should be good…

(17)(7)

Anonymous

Why should I waste my time on convincing an evil monster like you that something which is self evidently sad is sad? I suggest you take a long look at yourself.

(3)(26)

Anonymous

You shouldn’t because your line of reasoning is poorly thought out , you’re unable to articulate its basis thus it would be an impossible task.

Anonymous

Bully

Anonymous

Using Latin is the costa del sol resort of scoundrels and Catholic priests….

(3)(0)

Anonymous

I actually support your point, it’s logical

(0)(2)

Anon

Attempted to play race card? That’s not in the article.

(5)(6)

Anonymous

Nor does it appear to be in the judgment. But it is in the mind of the commenter. I wonder why.

(3)(10)

Anonymous

Perhaps try actually reading the judgment? It’s mentioned twice (para. 38 and 49.10).

http://www.solicitorstribunal.org.uk/sites/default/files-sdt/11689.2017.Bains_.pdf

(9)(0)

Demos Craticus

If I were black i’d play the race card. The law being full of honest people is comedy material.

The only thing she did wrong was lie and get caught. If she could have lied and not got caught, well power to her.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Why didn’t Weightmans perform the necessary checks in the first place? Questions should be raised about their recruitment process to be honest. Makes me wonder what kind of due diligence they perform for their clients who probably pay them a lot of money….

(42)(5)

Anonymous

Even better question, why perform checks on an ex-employee ?

(39)(1)

Anonymous

Maybe she bragged about it and someone grassed her up? Does seem an odd thing to do, however if you’re going to lie you have to take the consequences! Isn’t fair on all of us who are honest about our amazing (and not so amazing!) grades.
However, after now being a few years PQE I’ve never had anyone ask for a breakdown of grades…

(4)(0)

MEL

I for one has been asked for a breakdown of all my grades including both GCSE, LLB and LLM grades. The GCSE part is what really hit me below the belt and I still keep wondering the reason Aspiring Solicitors so desperately want that, otherwise which my application, they said, would fail if I do not provide such breakdowns.

(1)(0)

Demos Craticus

Mel

It’s a sifting process – two many have glass ceiling 2.1…ie the unis avoid exams or use exams below year 3. It is a hierarchy… so A-levels, GCSEs results whatever they want. LLM, they would argue, could conceal a weak LLB graduate.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Agree.

So glad I didn’t end up getting a TC with this shite firm.

(6)(3)

Weightmans

We’re glad we didn’t take you too.

(10)(4)

Anonymous

Peaaaak

(4)(1)

Lord Harley of Counsel

Nothing wrong with doing this.

(23)(2)

Anonymous

Should be reported to the CPS for breach of s.2 Fraud Act 2006 – the SDT Judgment is damning and her dishonesty goes well beyond what’s outlined in this article – I’m glad she got caught…

(18)(1)

Y

Haven’t you got work to do?

(4)(2)

Anonymous

Haven’t you?

(3)(1)

Anonymous

Haven’t you?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Haven’t you?

sorry this looked fun thought I’d join in

(10)(0)

Anonymous

Haven’t you?

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Haven’t you?

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Haven’t you?

Corbyn. Sympathiser

Crimes are reported to the police, not the CPS you useless piece of shit.

(19)(4)

Anonymous

And following that who do the police refer the matter to you obtuse c u next Tuesday…

(6)(1)

Trumpenkrieg

Alleged crimes are reported, useless piece of shit.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Equivalent of a 2.2 pushing a 3rd in terms of those results.

Poor form. Very naughty. Zero sympathy. It’s not like she finished university 30 years ago and would have struggled to obtain a transcript of her results from the academic registry.

(17)(1)

Demos C.

There is no difference between a 3rd, 2.1, 2.2 if the unis do not do like for like.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

LPC is graded pass, merit or distinction.

(3)(1)

Tugg Speedman

…and anything less than Distinction attained is actually graded ‘D’ for ‘Dumbf*ck’.

(7)(10)

Anonymous

Nah, the true dumbf*ckery is putting in the extra effort to get a distinction on a course no one in practice cares about during your final year of comparative freedom before entering the world of work.

(11)(5)

Y

She will be welcomed at Clifford give us a Chance.

(8)(4)

Anonymous

Judge as in the judge in court👀

(1)(3)

Anonymouse

Bollocks. Not once have I been asked to take transcripts or certificates to an assessment centre. I presume she took her Record of Achievement too.

(10)(0)

Anonymous

I was asked to bring original GCSE certificates to an interview. It varies firm by firm.

(6)(1)

Demos, C.

Am guessing the tribunal ordered a disclosure.

(0)(0)

Trumpenkrieg

This really is a student forum isn’t it…

(9)(0)

Anonymous

£6,000 in costs looks disproportionate given the amount of work done and lack of complexity.

(8)(2)

Demos, C.

This is where the race card is useful for keeping costs down.

I’d be saying am black and proud – not in the public interest to give me a costs order as I have history of ancestor abuse. What do mean that you don’t care? Equality Act claim for discrimination.

(0)(5)

Anonymous

Why all the flack towards DLA and not Weightmans? Surely this “top 45 law firm” (on its email signatures) could be taken down a peg or three? Massively unprofitable, mundane work and chippy associates desperate to become a salaried partner on £80k or thereabouts.

(5)(3)

Anonymous

Spoken like a true chippy associate desperate to become a salaried partner on £80k or thereabouts.

(11)(0)

LC staff

£80k? That’s more then all of us make in a decade!

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Oh damn

(2)(0)

Anonymous

I feel sorry for her and think she should appeal this for all the people who only want to get a moment of laughter from reading this article.

(4)(6)

Anonymous

It actually makes me feel sick that you’ve published this like it’s news. Did you not spare a moment to think about her and how her whole life has just changed and law career over?? Look like a vendetta to me – who checks up on an ex employee to see how they got the job these days?

(9)(10)

Anonymous

She was clearly dishonest but Weightmans’ behaviour in this is very concerning too. The determination shows she did two seats in Weightmans’ banking team and they intended her to qualify into that department. She chose to leave and go to DLA. Only following her departure did Weightmans start digging for dirt on her. Who does that? Her allegations of bullying and racism at Weightmans seem to have been dismissed by the SDT, but I suspect there is some truth in them.

(12)(3)

Anonymous

Oh Weightmans… Strife between partners rarely far from the surface, envy dressed up as hostility towards partners who move elsewhere, and a management culture that follows procedure when it suits but otherwise sees fit to ignore. All while being a panel firm with all the joys that entails . Partner – bill, bill, bill. Client – no pay, no pay, no pay. Definitely one to avoid.

(2)(0)

Comments are closed.

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