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Ban for former Ropes & Gray London trainee who ‘traced’ client’s signature

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Failed to act with integrity, according to SRA decision

A former Ropes & Gray London trainee has been barred from working in the legal profession after she was found to have reproduced a client’s signature.

Ex-rookie solicitor Louise Bolderstone printed a share certificate, “traced” the client’s signature onto it and then sent it to a third party reporting it to be the original which had been lost.

She also misled her colleague and a third party in relation to the share certificate, according to a disciplinary decision published today by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

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The regulator said her actions breached SRA principle two, act with integrity, and principle six, behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in you and in the provision of legal services. Bolderstone was also found to have been dishonest.

She was given a written rebuke and made the subject of a section 43 order, which prevents her from working in a law firm without prior permission from the SRA.

Bolderstone was ordered to pay a financial penalty of £2,000 and costs, including appeal costs, of £1,600.

A spokesperson for Ropes & Gray said: “This is a SRA matter and, as such, it would be inappropriate for us to comment. We can confirm that Louise Bolderstone no longer works at the firm.”

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26 Comments

Anonymous

That’s a signature move from the SRA

(65)(0)

Trainee

It’s not worth it. If you make a mistake, own up. It might piss your supervisor off but they would rather be told. It’s not worth sacrificing your entire career over a momentary rebuke. Mistakes like this can easily be corrected.

(88)(2)

Anonymous

what’s her name and why is it not printed?

(2)(20)

Anonymous

Her name is in the last sentence

(8)(0)

Anonymous

And the second para…

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Exactly, a friend of mine who worked at the General Medical Council once told me, if a Dr does something wrong that causes death or injury, then as long as they are open and honest in how they reached that point, then they will rarely be banned from practice. However, if you do something minor and lie about it, then you can fully expect to be struck off. I think the same is true in the legal environment.

(3)(0)

Trainee

And the worst thing is it will probably turn up…

(12)(0)

Trainee

Maybe they found out because it turned up.

(14)(0)

Anonymous

I deliberately set my pupil master’s house on fire. I didn’t lie about it and said I’d do it again if I had the chance. It was all so embarrassing for Chambers that they decided not to tell the police. I’m a silk now.

(32)(3)

Tune in every other Thursday for more.

Her dishonest acts have really been a bolderstone to sink her career.

Is anyone an organ donor? I think my kidney’s might have failed from writing the above…I am sure the Doctor will find some kidney Bolderstones.

(6)(71)

Maybe not every other Thursday.

Tough crowd… I may need to stick to my day job.

My humour really went down like bolderstone; not sure whether the poetic irony should give me some fulfilment.

(2)(46)

Anonymous

Flush yourself.

(16)(0)

Anonymous

I doubt the culture at Ropes is the main reason – from what I’ve heard it’s relatively friendly in the PE team.

Truth is that whatever firm you’re in losing an original STF doesn’t look good, particularly when you’re nearing qualification like she was. You can see why a trainee would be tempted to do it anywhere, even though it is completely not worth it as this shows.

(4)(10)

Anonymous

Not even an STF

(2)(0)

Finance Trainee

It was a share certificate. These get lost relatively often and it is an easy process to do a lost share certificate indemnity. Not the end of the world.

(10)(0)

Anonymous

Indemnities and replacement certs happen all the time.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Jesus Christ, losing your career over a bloody share certificate

(41)(0)

Anonymous

Silly move. Career over.

(8)(0)

Anonymous

As a supervisor, please always tell me if you lose something, send an email to the wrong person etc.

Whatever it is, chances are I’ve fucked up more and fucked up bigger. And the partner’s probably fucked up even more and even bigger.

We will be able to fix whatever you’ve done, but we can only fix it if you tell us.

(81)(2)

Anon123

Worse case if she confessed to the error – they wouldn’t offer her a position at NQ level but she would still have a career and be able to move on to another firm. Always own up to mistakes, the nature of corporate law means its not life threatening no will die from a lost share certificate !!!

(24)(0)

Anonymous

Aside from the dishonesty that got her struck out of the profession.

But I do get your point.

(19)(1)

Anonymous

I have found many dishonest people seem honest until they are caught being dishonest.

(22)(0)

Anonymous

Honest people aren’t good at covering up their mistakes

(4)(0)

curious counsel

I think this is a reasonable decision in the circumstances but it is an utter joke that she is losing her whole career over a nervous error in an attempt to please the firm who trained here when far more senior solicitors have been accused of fair worse and are still working for their respective firms pending the outcome of investigations without even so much as a suspension.

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Why is it a joke? The whole reason the profession has an “exclusive” right to charge for legal services is based on a presumption of ethical behaviour. Very easy to be honest when under no pressure at all – being worried that you will be told off is a pathetic excise for such obviously dishonest behaviour.

Faking a signature is never ok. You shouldn’t need to be revising the ethics module of your LPC every day to realise that. Solicitors would be and are struck off for forgery, no matter how senior.

(11)(0)

Anthony Coleby

The fault lies with the employer for creating and imposing a culture of fear, leading to the pressure to make good the loss of the certificate. The trainee should have been sent on a course teaching basic ethics and after that nothing more need have been said about the matter. The lesson would have been learnt.

(3)(1)

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