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Tribunal praises trainee solicitor who ‘picked up pieces’ after boss abandoned firm to go ‘travelling’

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Rookie left to face ‘angry clients’

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) has praised a rookie solicitor who did “his best to pick up the pieces” after his boss abandoned the firm and allegedly went “travelling to Malaysia”.

The trainee, who was in the middle of his training contract but has not been named, quickly informed the regulator of his predicament and attempted to appease “some very angry and frustrated clients”, according to a disciplinary ruling published this week.

The SDT heard how Nicholas Tsioupras, who was practising as a sole practitioner at Nicholas Angelo Solicitors in North London, fired off an email in August 2018 to his only trainee, explaining he was closing the office and “wouldn’t be around for a while”.

Tsioupras warned the trainee “there are going to be a few angry clients” but stressed he didn’t need to do anything because “the firm acting for the SRA [Solicitors Regulation Authority] will contact these people and deal with these files going forward”. Tsioupras also told the trainee he had informed the SRA the office was closing and had asked it to intervene.

Opting to play it safe, the rookie contacted the regulator two days later to say he had received an email from Tsioupras explaining that he was closing the office and “wouldn’t be around for a while”.

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The trainee also went to Tsioupras’ home address, where the solicitor’s brother had told him that he had gone “travelling to Malaysia”. The SRA had no record of Tsioupras informing it of the closure of his office, according to the ruling.

The tribunal also heard how client account bank statements showed that sums totalling £415,221 had been made to the firm’s office bank account and a bank account in an unknown name, which was presumed to be held by Tsioupras or on his behalf.

Nicholas Angelo Solicitors was shut down by the SRA in September 2018.

“The trainee solicitor’s prompt action ensured that the SRA and the Compensation Fund were engaged at an early stage so that the clients’ property transactions were completed”, the SDT said. “But for that action, the harm to the clients and reputational damage to the profession would have been considerably greater.”

It continued:

“The trainee solicitor had been in the middle of a training contract and had been deliberately left with no support, not knowing what the impact of the respondent’s actions might be for him financially as well as on his career.”

The tribunal found that Tsioupras, who failed to co-operate with or engage with the SRA, had acted dishonestly and with a lack of integrity. He was struck off and ordered to pay costs of £8,400.

24 Comments

Shetman

Top firm. Anyone know the NQ rate at Nicholas Angelo Solicitors ??

Legalswim

‘Nicholas Angelo Solicitors was shutdown shut down by the SRA in September 2018’. I’m guessing NQ pay would be zero. Not exactly a genius are you Shetman!

Mystery trainee

£415,221 if you play ball

Showround @ Bakers

First KWM and now Nicholas Angelo Solicitors…. Looks like Silver Circle firms are closing at a rapid pace

JDP

This would never happen to my trainee, I always take them along on my regular jaunts to South East Asia. It’s valuable learning time for them on how to please me.

anon

What does JDP stand for? I genuinely don’t know.

*Sighs*

Read the comments of any Legal Cheek article, you’ll soon grasp the monotonous joke made by those lacking originality.

Jack

Presumably Jones Day Partner. Almost certainly will actually be a first year at the university of Bedfordshire or likewise though. That’s the case with most of the people on here with showboaty names

Anon

It’s almost as dull as accusing people who make jokes you don’t like of being students.

JDP

You’re right Jack. I’m not even at the aforementioned firm. Actually at Millbank but commenting on here makes for a nice break when I eventually come up for air (2400 billable hours kids, you’ve been warned).

Anon

If you were actually at Milbank you would know how to spell it.

Topkek

“Millbank”

Lmao yea rite ok

Hontrique

The sole practitioner works in a firm that doesn’t even bear his name.

“Nicky Angelo sounds better”

Anon

This happens all the time – heard of King & Wood [Mallesons]?? There was never a Mr King or Mr Wood when the original firm was formed in 1993. The Chinese wanted an anglophone-friendly name to appease their western clients.

Anonymous

Easier to transition into a hairdresser if things didn’t work out.

Skin of his ....

One can imagine a scenario where the individual continued to battle on, dealing with irate clients and attempting to provide some level of service.

Clients complain to SRA – then Trainee bears the brunt of regulatory action.

Well done fella for flagging it, you saved your own bacon too! Hope you managed to transfer your TC somewhere more worthwhile. Unfortunately I expect that if you bring it up during interviews it will only count against you, the misfortune of your training principal running off means other firms would probably bin your CV. Thank you legal HR!

Poopot

LOL. Years ago i had this firm (and by extension this chap) acting for the buyer on a small share sale I was dealing with. Utterly useless, nearly killed the whole deal because he hacked everyone off so badly. Funny how these names crop up…

Anonymous

Is it possible to for LC to confirm if the trainee has/will have the opportunity to qualify, and if the SRA stepped in to place him elsewhere like they did when bigger firms have collapsed?

I hope they at least gave him a gift basket or something.

Grad

It would jokes if he got a Magic Circle contract out of this. Does this mean he is a grass teqnically? Lol

.

No, he’s not a grass. He’s a stand up guy who tried his very best to honour the clients. Despite the situation, this fella should hold his head high.

Framedmyboss

Thanks!

Trainee on a train...

Saul Goodman would be a better mentor…

Saba

What a terrible thing to happen. Whatever happened to good morals and ethics. How can people treat others this way.

Anon

You’re new to the law, yes?

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