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‘I was no longer able to cope’: Junior solicitor who backdated 23 letters ‘to buy time’ is struck off

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She’d only been qualified for three years

A junior solicitor has been removed from the profession by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) after she backdated letters to conceal her inactivity on cases.

Amanda Elizabeth Davies had been qualified for just three years when she started producing a total of 23 backdated letters on clinical negligence and personal injury matters relating to nine separate clients.

Davies, an assistant solicitor with Swansea outfit JCP Solicitors, also made misleading statements to the parent of a client bringing a claim relating to a road traffic accident, according to a judgment published by the SDT. Davies — who was born in 1986 and qualified in 2012 — admitted fabricating documents during a meeting with her employers in September 2016 and resigned with immediate effect.

The SDT agreed Davies should be struck off and ordered her to pay £2,500 costs.

Davies strike off comes just months after an award-winning corporate lawyer who sent a number of misleading emails to a client was handed a career lifeline by the SDT.

Peter Naylor “attempted to buy [himself] some time” by sending several misleading emails during his time as an associate in the corporate department of regional outfit TLT. On this occasion, however, the tribunal chose not to remove Naylor from the profession after it heard how his heavy workload had left him “physically and emotionally drained”.

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31 Comments

Anonymous

Feel sorry for her. Very harsh decision

(51)(7)

Anonymous

It’s not a harsh decision: it proceeded by way of agreed facts and outcome, i.e. there was no issue over whether or not this solicitor who had behaved dishonestly should be subject to the standard sanction for solicitors who behave dishonestly.

(11)(33)

Anonymous

Who would vote this down?! It is a matter of public record that the outcome was agreed! The relief was not resisted! I mean wtf?

(6)(23)

Just Anonymous

The solicitor accepted that, under the rules as they currently are, she would be struck off.

I think the sentiment being expressed here is that various people disagree with those rules.

(27)(3)

Anonymous

So it should not a “decision” they’ve got a problem with then, is it?

(1)(10)

Just Anonymous

If you want to be needlessly pedantic, then yes.

There is a time when pedantry has value and a time when it doesn’t. This is probably the latter.

(22)(3)

Anonymous

Wonder what you’re doing on a legal news site if you think distinguishing between a decision and an agreed outcome is pedantry.

(3)(21)

Just Anonymous

I’m trying to educate you.

Small claims hearings in particular are riddled with errors of detail: errors in witness statements; errors in statements of case; procedural errors, etc.

As a lawyer, you need to develop the judgment to realise when an error is actually material and when it is not. If you don’t, you will simply irritate the judge and probably cause him/her not to pay attention when you bring up an error that actually means something.

Corbyn. Sympathiser

Just bugger off, fascist.

Anonymous

It was not an agreed decision.

It is advertised as such, but if you look closely, the SRA do not accept her mitigation paragraphs.

Also, there is no meaningful explanation as to why this case does not fall within the residual exceptions about striking off. No guidelines published or followed on that point.

There is also no explanation as to why it was a fair trial process, just a lazy paragraph saying a6 was acknowledged.

Nasty partners. Nasty prosecutor. Lazy panel. There’s a conflict of interest. This happens so often that the sra should have a duty of care to solicitors in these sweat shop firms. The conflict is that they just ruin the lives of young solicitors, rather than tackle the sweat shop.

Just imagine, I am middle aged and I make a lot of money out of people’s injuries. The young do not know what they are up against.

The firm had asked the lady to chair a charity, so she must have been doing well before she lost it.

Nasty on the face of it, never mind your bogus wtf sentiments. If you were on the sra team then take a hike !

(8)(4)

Anonymous

It sounds as if you know more about this than is publicly available. Do tell!

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I am interested to hear this. I have read the SRA judgment and so it is intriguing to hear you say that it wasn’t an agreed decision. That is not what the judgment indicates. Please tell us more. If what you say is right, it sounds like a miscarriage of justice ripe for judicial review.

(0)(1)

Just Anonymous

Anonymous at 9:37 is wrong. See [7] of the judgment. The solicitor accepted that, even if her mitigation was all true and accurate, she would still be struck off.

The SRA did not accept her mitigation (see [6]), but since the solicitor was not arguing that her mitigation justified a less serious punishment, there was nothing for the SDT to adjudicate.

(8)(0)

Just Anonymous

*9.33*

(0)(0)

Anonymous

“the sra should have a duty of care to solicitors in these sweat shop firms” omg you could not possibly be more wrong. The SRA, like all regulators, exists to protect the public. You have to be able to trust the word of a solicitor. That’s it.

(0)(1)

D_T_T

It seems incongruous compared to some other decisions, but a lot seems to depend on some of the particular personal circumstances.

I’ll maybe get loads of downvotes, but a terminally ill grandparent when a person is in their late twenties is not exceptional and firmly in vicissitudes of life territory. Were other personal issues cited?

(15)(14)

Anonymous

Rather depends on the relationship with the grandparent doesn’t it?

(9)(4)

D_T_T

Yes it “rather” does, but let’s be real. For most people, grandparents are one generation removed and don’t bring you up. If that isn’t the case in this story, and the grandfather is especially close, I am happy to be corrected; but most of us can expect all of our grandparents to pass away during our early adulthood, if not before that. For example, I never met my grandfathers, who died when my parents were children. Both of my grandmothers died before I reached adulthood. Not that unusual. We have an odd attitude to death these days and seem to think it isn’t universal. Sadly, old people pass away, and whilst a stressor, it doesn’t excuse dishonesty.

(6)(2)

Anonymous

I really hope the SRA investigates the firm in question here. I appreciate that the solicitor in question is ultimately responsible, but the firm should not get off Scot-free

(36)(2)

Anonymous

Although her personal circumstances are sad to hear, it does not override common sense that what she did was wrong. Striking off is unfortunately the right decision given the number of backdated letters. However, action should also be taken against the firm. A lot of these PI firms are the law firm equivalent of sweatshops, with little to no regard for non-partner employees

(32)(3)

Anonymous

Another case of the SRA deciding to help themselves to a large chunk of cash from a struck off solicitor who is going to have great difficulty earning the money.

#gravytrain

(15)(4)

Anonymous

You mean the £2,500 costs award? Not a very lucrative gravy train.

(6)(7)

Just Anonymous

This is a very sad situation.

Like Anonymous at 12:44, I am very suspicious of the work-culture in some of these firms. I find it credible when individuals, such as Miss Davies, claim that they have been subjected to intolerable workloads with inadequate support and no way out.

I would like to see the regulator conduct a full and proper investigation into this issue. It is in no-one’s interests to have solicitors completely burnt out by excessive and intolerable workloads, and if that is the current reality, then that reality should change.

(37)(1)

Anon.

It was obviously wrong what she did but I have complete sympathy for the individual involved but again, like similar cases recently, partners and those involved in the running of firms have a huge deal of responsibility to take. There is a culture of time recording and billing with little to no support and assistance for the junior members doing the work. I suspect we will continue to see situations like this. Very sad indeed. With a little support and training, this was unlikely to have happened.

(9)(0)

Anonymous

The thing that puzzles me from reading the judgment is that the things she was meant to have done but didn’t do were actually very straightforward: things like making a counter-offer in circumstances where liability was admitted and the parties were horsetrading. Pinging back an email saying “no to £20k but how about £120k?” is less hassle than forging a letter that you never send, surely?

Also, those who say she was harshly treated, bear in mind the characteristics of some of the law-people she lied to, eg she directly lied to the mother of the widow of some chap killed in a car crash to the effect that she had made attempts to negotiate a settlement (liability admitted by counterparty) when she had not. I appreciate she was under pressure and so on, but there’s a line you just cannot cross if you are to remain a solicitor. Wherever the line is, this is the wrong side of it.

(8)(1)

Kim’s Trump Daddy

Although what the solicitor did was wrong I can sympathise with their reasoning for doing so. The SRA should seek to investigate the firm in question.

(4)(2)

Anon

If she didn’t post any of the letters she created, why was she struck off?!
Surely she should have just been sacked. Very harsh decision by the SRA, which makes such firms think it’s ok to overwork and under-support their staff.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

Although I see that it was agreed by both parties, £2500 in costs looks disproportionate in relation to the amount of work done.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Yes. Hugely disproportionate costs. Amazingly so. The actual costs incurred were probably ten times that. Token costs order of £2.5k – drop in the ocean and I doubt they’ll bother to enforce it. Lucky old profession discharges the balance.

(0)(2)

Anonymous

Really? Why do you think actual costs for this level of work would be £25k?

£2,500 looks high to me.

(1)(0)

Invisible

What about a highly recognised family law solicitor who… had an affair with his client during her divorce….who got her pregnant and disappeared after vomiting to her the most insane statements.
Do you think that the SRA will ever know about him? Do you honestly think that these dirty little secrets are a scoop??

The legal profession to me is totally unbalanced. You cannot avoid mental issues whether you’re a lawyer or a client.
Miss Davies should have had a second chance as my lawyer did.

(2)(0)

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