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Junior solicitor struck off for fare dodging just two years after qualifying

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Adam Kemeny avoided paying £650 worth of train fares from Shoreditch to Surrey

📸 Redhill station (credit: Google)

A junior lawyer has been struck off for dodging train fares on his morning commute.

Adam Kemeny, who was less than a year into his first job as a newly qualified (NQ) solicitor, was found to have avoided £650 worth of train fares over several months in 2017.

Kemeny was caught by ticket inspectors in October 2017 sneaking out a back gate at Redhill station (pictured top) in Surrey. It turned out that the hapless NQ had dodged fares 64 times in the previous 65 days, travelling from his home in Shoreditch to his firm’s Redhill branch without tapping out at the far end.

The UCL geography graduate had worked as a paralegal for several years after completing a law conversion course and the Legal Practice Course (LPC). Kemeny finally landed a training contract at Thomas Eggar (since merged with Irwin Mitchell) and qualified in 2016, moving to south-east regional outfit Morrisons Solicitors. But all that effort at legal career-building came to nothing: the rookie lawyer’s fare dodging came to light less than a year into the job, and Morrisons promptly sacked him for gross misconduct.

Kemeny told the disciplinary tribunal that his actions were down to “great financial hardship”, as he was unemployed for several months after his training contract ended. But a Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) prosecutor pointed out that Kemeny’s salary was £38,000: more than enough to cover the £17 cost of the daily trip.

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Kemeny’s lawyer said that his client was “a very young solicitor indeed” whose misconduct did not relate to his professional practice, describing him as a “broken man”. He had repaid the train company, confessed to his bosses and reported himself to the regulator.

But the panel decided that Kemeny’s conduct “amounted to a failure to act with integrity and failure to behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in him and in the provision of legal services”.

The tribunal also found that the young lawyer had been dishonest, pointing out that “a solicitor had to display honesty whatever his level of experience”. It ordered that Kemeny be struck off and pay costs of £3,000.

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58 Comments

TITAN

38k NQ? Sure he wasn’t working at Morrisons supermarket?

(51)(9)

Anonymous

No. You’d earn more there.

(32)(4)

FC

The article reports his firm is in Redhill. US firms have really warped peoples perceptions of wages outside of London.

(50)(1)

Anonymous

I feel sorry for him.

Rail fares are a disgrace.

Jeremy Corbyn will nationalise railways by imposing a windfall tax on city greed!!

70% income taxes!!

We need fare caps and income based tickets!!

And lots of new council housing within the M25!!!

FOR THE MANY, NOT THE FEW!!!!

(42)(61)

Panicking 1 y PQE solicitor from Penge

I thought rail fares were optional!!!

Now panicking!!!!

Who do I self report to????

I must self destruct my career!!!!

(26)(5)

Anonymous

This isn’t the first time, various lawyers and bankers caught at it, and they were earning significantly more than £38k.

Just. Really. Dumb.

(33)(3)

Anonymous

Would you report yourself to the regulator? If I was caught with something like this and paid the fine, I’m not sure I would…

(46)(4)

The SRAa

Concealment makes it worse and pushes up the costs bill significantly, somehow.

(4)(3)

Anonymous

Only if you get caught..

(17)(1)

Anonymous

Well thank goodness a GDLer with a degree in geography can leave the profession.

There will be more opportunities for law graduates now!

(23)(59)

Daily Hate Mailer

But how much is his house worth?

(2)(3)

Anonymous

People who live in Shoreditch are naturally not the brightest lot.

(13)(14)

Anonymous

When did your mum move there?

(7)(0)

Anonymous

In 2012, when she realised that she could make 400/hr as a prostitute

(3)(3)

US FIRM LAD

“finally landed a training contract at Thomas Eggar (since merged with Irwin Mitchell) and qualified in 2016”

ROFL LMAO LOLOLOLOLOLOL

(12)(35)

Anonymous

Of course you’re a “US FIRM LAD”

(8)(1)

US FIRM LAD

eat my choad

(5)(4)

Your LSE guy

*chode

(13)(2)

Anonymous

Hi Dave.

(9)(0)

Baron Von Erich

I don’t blame him one little bit. The cost of public transport compared to anywhere else in Europe is an absolute disgrace.

(55)(11)

Anonymous

£17 daily commute across (roughly) 260 working days a year comes to £4,420. Take home salary (assuming no pension etc) for £38,000 is £29,220.

Considering the train alone is going to cost the chap over 15% of his salary I think it’s a bit much to suggest he has ‘more than enough’.

I feel sorry for him. A slap on the wrist and paying the fine should be punishment enough. It seems disproportionate to ruin his future over skipped tickets when it appears the motivation was genuinely financial hardship.

(153)(8)

Travel Extortion

Well said. The travel costs including rent, bills food and possibly debt is stressful. Do the SDT live in the real world ? I don’t think they should have ruined his years of hard work there’s far more scrupulous characters out there.

I do feel sorry for him, yes what he did was wrong but when under financial pressure it is possible to make decisions we’re not proud of.

(53)(7)

Anonymous

“there’s far more scrupulous characters out there.“

I’m sure there are far more scrupulous characters out there…everyone who pays their fare!

Dictionary time!

(32)(2)

Anonymous

The illiterate OP didn’t like your admonishment!

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Alas, the problem is that thinking like that you put a lot of regulators out of a job.

If you get a client like this , it is a job creation scheme to ask for leave to have a psychiatric report prepared.

You may just miss the career guillotine then.

Poor lad. Hopefully someone will give him a break.

Do not mess with the middle class is a lesson hard learned. Hit the ball low over the net everytime, or they will smash you without compunction.

I wonder if he was replaced with a cheaper paralegal.

(2)(5)

Nsympathy

I agree the decision to strike him off seems harsh and that train fares are extortionate, however living Shoreditch is also expensive and is very much a lifestyle choice in my view. If you can afford to rent in Shoreditch then you can afford to pay your train fare. That is the long and short of it.

(38)(5)

Anonymous

Sad yet very true.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

The SDT judgment confirmed he had £10k in his bank account at one point during the period in question and that his current account never went below £4k. Hardly poverty driven.

(24)(0)

Anonymous

I earn just shy of £30k a year with the costs you have detailed above. I survive AND pay my train fares. It’s very easily done, no excuses.

And before somebody comments, I am not a qualified lawyer.

(12)(2)

Anonymous

One rule for Cherie Blair QC, another for junior Solicitor…

(38)(0)

Anonymous

Oooouuu this!!

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Cherie Blair is Barrister …. not a solicitor … different rules, different regulatory body!!!

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Yup.

One that allows you, as a 30-something to supply class A drugs to your teenage lover, who dies as a result, you get convicted of manslaughter, and you will STILL not be struck off but merely be suspended for a few years.

Totally different standards for the Bar…

(18)(1)

Anonymous

Chemsex Hendron is a living legend you poofta

(5)(2)

Anonymous

He didn’t get convicted of manslaughter. It was supply. You idiot.

(3)(2)

Anonymous

It’s a dishonesty offence you bunch of dimwits. Naturally he cannot work in the profession anymore.

(15)(6)

Anonymous

You’ve clearly never worked in legal practice.

(21)(6)

Anonymous

You’ve clearly not been up for SDT. Steal a bloody Freddo and your struck off for dishonesty. And I know that Freddo’s are currently running for £600, but its the principle.

(3)(1)

Dickfart LLP trainee

Could I move to a top top Titan firm like Irwin Mitchell or DWF on qualification?

(18)(3)

Anonymous

dickfarts sounds like a top outfit

(1)(0)

Anon

His actions merit a fine and compensation to the train company, but to strike him off? A mile too far in my opinion.

(16)(4)

Anon knee mouse

Wait…what kind of shite firm would not even pay your travel expenses?

(5)(10)

anon

maybe a final warning but this is a bit too far and harsh. The train is going in that direction anyways 🤷🏽‍♂️ Trains prices are scams these days

(6)(5)

Anonymous

I’m slightly staggered at the amount of people who think this is harsh or heavy handed. Surely everyone knows that a proven act of dishonesty leads to strike off, especially if it’s done repeatedly. That’s pretty much what you sign up to when you qualify and it’s hardly a secret. I feel sorry for the guy, he’s made a massive mistake early in his career, but I suspect his ‘error in judgement’ would have continued until he was caught…

(28)(7)

Anonymous

Completely agree. This is a straightforward dishonesty offence, and of course the guy had to be struck off. High train fares don’t come into it.

(4)(4)

Anonymous

I think such a blanket approach to ‘dishonesty’ offences is ridiculous.

Imagine if the same approach was taken in relation to violent criminal offences. A person found guilty of ABH might as well be locked up for life because it’s pretty much murder right?

The main question is (or should be) “will this guy end up siphoning client cash?” I don’t think anybody can realistically conclude in the positive just because he has dodged train tickets.

(7)(3)

lexluthor

I wonder if he bothered paying for his train fare back from the tribunal

(13)(0)

Anonymous

Why didn’t he just cadge a ride from Lord Harley on his munchkin steam train?

(6)(0)

Anonymous

You’re misguided, every learned friend knows Lord Harley always arrives on his motorbike

(1)(0)

Harley

You cretin, I always travel in the Roller. Especially when I’m sitting in the Privy Arbital Court.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

If I tell my Mrs her jeans don’t make her look chubby do I have to self report?

There’s got to be some level where we acknowledge he’s not been honest but having confessed etc, 60-something days skipped fares are hardly deserving the same punishment as some of the dishonestly out there. Otherwise once you miss one train fare you might as well just really go for it and start lying through your teeth all the time.

(12)(7)

Anonymous

Don’t know why you’ve been downvoted. Fair point in my view.

I also think the division between dishonesty offences and other offences is overplayed. Say a lawyer gets done for fare dodging twice in ten years, that might show a very low predisposition to dishonesty yet be a big deal for SRA/BSB.

But another lawyer might get convicted twice in that period for being DUI many times over the limit, which would show grave recklessness, contempt for others’ lives and contempt for the law but wouldn’t attract much of a sanction professionally, if any.

(3)(1)

Mohammed Bello

The Code of Conduct for solicitors is clear on requirement that people in the business of delivering legal services must act with integrity at all times. This fellow made a conscious decision – not once, not twice – to flout the rules knowing the implications that could arise out of his action. He owed the public a duty of care and therefore integrity. He chose to ignore this. Clearly, it must have been foreseeable to him that his action could lead to a gross dismissal. Training contracts are hard to come by. And those lucky to have one, shouldn’t make a mockery of it. I am afraid that the SDT’s action was proportionate in the circumstances.

(6)(8)

Jiiso

People have done much worse and still get to keep their jobs

(0)(1)

Sense

Yeah he wasn’t acting with integrity but he wasn’t performing his job at the same time either so it’s one of his firms business whether he had done that

(0)(2)

Sense

None*

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I imagine the conversation between this ex-solicitor and the devil. “Why are you here?” “Because I dodged 60 train fares and was struck off”. “But shouldn’t you have waited longer and defrauded your clients?” “Not my style”. “I see, we may have a room”.

(1)(0)

Andrew

I agree that this reflects poorly on his integrity but I still believe people can learn integrity and that he still had the potential to become a solicitor of high moral standing.

I just hope this guy can keep mentally strong as he has just paid a heavy price for a stupid mistake and this anger and depression will stay with him a long time. I wish him well and I am sure he will still make a success of his life…..even if it doesn’t go the way he planned.

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.

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