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Ban for legal worker who submitted her own job reference using bogus law firm email address

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An admin assistant who used a fake law firm email address to submit her own bogus employment reference has been told she can no longer work in the legal profession.

Sameena Usmani was employed by Buckinghamshire outfit Clarity Family Law Solicitors in March last year. But she was subsequently dismissed after it emerged she had submitted a CV including false information about her employment history.

According to a notice published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), Usmani acquired a domain name which was deliberately similar to that of another law firm, then used it to provide Clarity with a fake email address for it to seek a reference for her.

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The notice says Usmani then responded to the request pretending to someone else and provided false information which corroborated the false information she had given. Her conduct was found to be dishonest.

Usmani was made the subject of a section 43 order, which prevents her from working in a law firm without prior permission from the SRA.

48 Comments

Anonymous lawyer, Rochdale

Sounds a bit unfair.

Anonymous

If you blended the SRA and BSB together, you’d have a regulator with balance. Unfortunately, the professions have to deal with one that seemingly enjoys decimating careers for the slightest of infractions, and another happy to keep practitioners on despite truly unacceptable behaviour.

Anonymous

For this one though, the barring order is spot on. Dishonesty on this scale is bye-bye.

Anonymous

Wrong choice, it just looks sanctimonious.

SRA fan

SRA nailing the big fish once again …

Anonymous

Good job she wasn’t a bloke having sex. Otherwise it would have been a £230k fine.

Anon

Agree that a middle ground between the SRA and BSB would be ideal. However, I wouldn’t describe fraudulently lying about prior employment and impersonating a law firm as a “slight infraction”.

Anonymous

Getting any paid experience in the legal sector is becoming incredibly difficult nowadays, and people are more and more inclined to embellish and spin their CVs. Whilst I don’t excuse her behaviour, I understand it.

Also, compared to barristers drink driving, getting into punch-ups and doing drugs, this is a slight infraction. An instance of lying, yes, but hardly one that brings the profession into disrepute more than the three examples I have just given.

J.Smith

Did you not read the story?

– She bought a domain name similar to that of an existing law firm
– She made a fake email address using that domain name
– She did so for the purposes of putting that fake email address on her CV, so she could (a) mislead other law firms about her experience and (b) so that those firms could obtain a reference from ‘the firm’ about her previous work
– The firm did contact the fake address, thinking it was genuine
– She responded impersonating someone from the ‘firm’, corroborating the falsities on her CV
– They presumably gave her a job as a result

Good decision!

Anonymous

Meh, contributing to the death of your boyfriend with drugs and mailing drugs to chambers is still worse. And both of those barristers were permitted to continue practising.

(-)(-)

You appear to be missing the point. those two “worse” offences lack dishonest intent, the former any intent and the latter a lack of integrity but not dishonesty.

The moment you jump into the realms of dishonesty, you push yourself out of what the profession is. Kill one person, go to jail. Be dishonest, and you’re potentially affecting multiple people’s lives and the damage is just so much worse. It also tarnishes you and others like you (the profession). You just can’t have it when people place such trust, and where they pay such high fees.

Not to detract from those two offences but they are not things damage trust.

Anonymous

The problem is that there are few lawyers or judges who have never been dishonest in their professional lives, it’s just the degree of dishonesty that varies.

Mr Pooey Bum QC

By fraudulently embellishing her CV she stole the job from someone with an honest (but less impressive) CV.

Furthermore her dishonesty renders her unfit to practice.

Therefore the judgment is fair.

Anonymous

Not sure it renders her unfit to practice.

I despair

Anon 10.53 – either you’re trolling or an idiot. This is a text book, strike-off worthy (had she been admitted) act of dishonesty. She’s cut from the same cloth as those who falsify Court Orders and doctor backdated / phony file correspondences to cover their ass.

Also, her actions are likly amount to a breach of S.2 Fraud Act 2006. Hint: reflect on the title to this legislation and light bulbs may start to come on as to the problem here.

The fucking state of this board sometimes.

Anonymous

I still don’t see why it makes her unfit to practice.

Given your rant, resorting to name-calling, typos and stupidly posting the same comment twice, I’d rather have her in front of clients than you any day of the week.

Anon

Because her actions, founded in dishonesty, amount to (1) a regulatory breach (2) a civil wrong (3) a criminal act. I don’t normally resort to ad hominems, but with your being especially dense it’s justified.

Anonymous

She made a mistake and was punished for it. That should be the end of the matter unless there’s a repeat. What criminal act are you on about?

She’s definitely not unfit to practice and is based on your contributions would make a better lawyer than you.

I despair

Anon 10.53 – either you’re trolling or an idiot. This is a text book, strike-off worthy (had she been admitted) act of dishonesty. She’s cut from the same cloth as those who falsify Court Orders and doctor backdated / phony file correspondences to cover their ass.

Also, her actions are likly amount to a breach of S.2 Fraud Act 2006. Hint: reflect on the title to this legislation and light bulbs may start to come on as to the problem here.

The fucking state of this board sometimes.

Anonymous

Given the quality of your input I can see why you despair!

Anon

Anon 4.39 – Yes she was correctly given a s.43 Order and won’t be allowed to practise law. No more career; good. Also her actions are criminal. See, s.2 Fraud Act 2006 as I mentioned above. Are your reading skills as poor as your powers of comprehension? In fact, are you her?

Anonymous

So what crime was she found guilty of?

Are you so lacking in judgement that you think anyone who disagrees with your view must be her? If so, she would definitely be a better lawyer and fitter to practice than you.

Still not clear why she’s thought to be unfit to practice.

Anonymous

Presumably just a flamer. No-one would hold these views in the real world.

Anonymous

If you’re talking about Nov 8th @ 4.50pm you’re definitely right.

Anon

She wasn’t found guilty of any crime, stop straw-manning. I said her actions were criminal i.e. they meet the criteria of the aforementioned legislation. Learn nuance.

I’ve given you reasons why she’s not fit to practise before. I don’t need to do it again. If you can’t grasp why her actions render her as such you’re a lost cause.

If you’re intent on holding to your absurd position go advance it at your next job interview and check for the reaction.

Anonymous

So if her actions were criminal what crime was she found guilty of?

You haven’t given me reasons why she’s unfit to practice- you’ve given me reasons why you are. Try approaching your next interview this way and see how far you get.

This is why she’s a better lawyer than you will ever be.

Anon

‘She’s a better lawyer then you will ever be’

Except she never was a lawyer nor ever will be lol. You’re not very good at this are you. Perhaps you’d be better suited to a career in Instagram…

Anonymous

Better at it than you.

Even someone who was never a lawyer is a better lawyer than you’ll ever be, that’s the point. You don’t even know what a crime is.

You seem to know more about Instagram than you do about law.

Anon

You formulate arguments like a child. You won’t make it.

Anonymous

You can’t deal with the arguments so you have to name-call.

You don’t know what a crime is.

You’re not fit to practice.

Anonymous

Only mediocre lawyers find things like this funny.

Anon

Practise*

Anonymous

As in not fit to.

It doesn’t have an asterisk at the end.

Anonymous

Silly that she can’t work in the legal profession.

Anonymous

Yes, benefiting financial through planned dishonesty is not in any way inconsistent with the profession.

Anonymous

It really isn’t you know. Dishonest to pretend otherwise.

Unlike being able to spell financially.

Anon

Lol even the guy who can’t spell financially gets it. Imagine where that leaves you!

Anonymous

Lol at pretending you’re not that guy while criticising dishonesty in others.

No wonder you’re being laughed at!

Anon

No…it’s just that everyone piling in on you owing to your retarded views.

Anonymous

No, it’s you again, being dishonest while complaining about dishonesty.

Getting in such a state that you can’t write properly anymore and are reduced to throwing a tantrum.

Anon

Lol my conscience is clean. You’re the one defending a barred individual. That says all I need to know about your character. All I can conclude is that you’re a conniver like the waste of space who got herself banned. The fact that everyone on this board who’s commented disagrees with you is telling. The fact that you are arguing directly against the regulatory rules and SRA’s decision is telling. Plus I enjoy being nasty to twats.

Anonymous

So it is you posting multiple times pretending to be different people while complaining about dishonesty. The ‘barred individual’ has more place in the legal profession than you – all your name-calling does is prove that. Keep digging!

Anon

Lol you’re repeating yourself now. Anyways worst of luck to you, I hope you try something like she did one day, are found out and s.43ed as well. 🙂

Anonymous

Lol, so you are repeating yourself and posting multiple times pretending to be someone else while complaining about dishonesty.

Anonymous

Pretty minor stuff really, nothing to get overly worked up about, just don’t do it again.

Anonymous

Banning her from the profession is OTT. She ends up looking like a victim.

Anonymous

Interesting to see that there are some practitioners and students out there that believe that egregiously bad behaviour in one’s personal life, conduct that could, if resulting in a criminal conviction, could lead to a prison sentence, is somehow not as bad as this. I’m not missing the point that unlike buying drugs, driving drunk and getting into punch-ups, the offence this woman committed involved an element of dishonesty. On the contrary, I’m keeping that factor well in mind and placing less weight on it.

The truth of the matter is that it is a key component of a lawyer’s job to bend narratives to the very limits of truth. Plenty have crossed that threshold, though they would never admit it. And in the meantime, lots are engaging in behaviour which would appall the general public. And then some of those lawyers have the gall to rinse the woman who admittedly did something quite wrong, but clearly not something that would diminish the trust and confidence in the profession as much as some of the things lawyers do in their downtime? The public is right to stick lawyers in the same category as bankers and politicians if so.

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