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Ex-law firm partner struck off after failing to report cocaine conviction to regulator

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Gave ‘misleading information to the police’, according to agreed outcome

An ex-law firm partner has been struck off after he failed to report a drug-related conviction to the profession’s regulator.

Lee Lipson, a former litigation and insolvency partner at Manchester’s BPS Law, but who worked as an assistant solicitor at the firm from September 2016 to August 2017, was handed a conditional caution in April 2016 for possessing cocaine and cannabis.

In his interview with police, the “experienced” solicitor claimed he had not taken the cocaine and that he was using the cannabis to help alleviate pain caused by a “neurological condition”.

Lipson failed to report his conviction to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), which was instead notified by police, according to an agreed outcome published by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT).

However, in a subsequent phone call with the SRA, Lipson said he’d actually confiscated the drugs from his then partner, who had allegedly spiked his drink with some of them for being “in her view, self righteous!”

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Fast forward to March 2017, Lipson was convicted of a further drug-related offence, this time for driving under the influence of cocaine. He was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months and disqualified from driving for 18 months.

In a non-agreed mitigation, Lipson said that he was suffering from an addiction to prohibited drugs at the time of the misconduct for which he was seeking treatment.

In approving the decision to strike Lipson from the roll, the SDT noted he was “directly responsible for the matters which led to the allegations against him” and that his conduct “will inevitably have caused significant harm to the reputation of the legal profession”. It continued:

“The fact he gave misleading information to the police in the course of his interview on 9 April 2016 was a significant departure from the standards of ‘complete integrity, probity and trustworthiness’ to be expected from a solicitor.”

Lipson was ordered to pay costs of £3,585.

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17 Comments

The Court of Pie Powders

It seems these days that the only thing that actually will get you kicked out of the professions is lying. Always just fess up to the police and SRA/BSB kids. Always seems to end better.

(13)(3)

Anonymous

Unless you’re a trainee blowing the whistle on partners, in that situation the SRA make pretty clear that it’s better to keep hush about breaking the law.

(42)(2)

Anonymous

Even better is to not defraud clients for two years before telling the regulator.

Honestly this comment crops up so much I think you must be that girl who was struck off for falsifying documents and defrauding clients out of money and only doing something about it once you thought your career was safe.

(8)(1)

Mouse

His Facebook postings are full of good advice about life. Shame he didn’t follow his own words of wisdom.

(2)(0)
(8)(0)

Anonymous

What factors/aspects are we comparing here? There’s not that many parallels from a conduct point of view.

(0)(5)

Charlie

What would happen if, say, you got caught with a small quantity of 2 grams on you (i.e. deemed not to be dealing), you get a conditional, and then self report it to the SRA? What would the SRA likely do?

(7)(0)

Anonymous

This was a serious question and I want answers criminal lawyers and/or SRA educated people

(1)(0)

Anonymous

The SRA would fine you. For not reporting the conviction and / or lying about they’d strike you off.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Thank you – are fines published publicly?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Yes.

Anonymous

Transphobic comment. Downvoted and reported.

(7)(1)

Anonymous

Transphobic too and also homophobic. Downvoted and reported.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

The best ones do both. I knew a lovely bit of crumpet who would come round – start with a bit of filth and then follow up with a few lines.

(2)(1)

Tommy

So let me get this straight…. if you’re found with cocaine you’re struck off… and if you’re dealing it’s just a fine ?

Boy oh boy SRA are really applying common sense here.

(2)(0)

NWA

I think this is unduly harsh. I know so many lawyers that are doing or have done some form of drug. Fuck the SRA and the POPO!

(6)(1)

M'lud

It’s seems that once again the error here is not being a barrister and not sending class A drugs to your chambers.

(8)(0)

Comments are closed.

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