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Unqualified former paralegal admits pretending to be a solicitor in High Court

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16

A cautionary tale for Suits fans

A former paralegal faces up two years in jail after pleading guilty of pretending to be a solicitor.

In an escapade worthy of US legal drama Suits, Richard Lipscombe even appeared in the High Court before his suspicious client ratted him out to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Lipscombe, 44, pleaded guilty on Friday to acting as a solicitor when unqualified and carrying out a reserved legal activity when not entitled.

Both offences carry maximum prison sentences of up to two years.

The SRA says that Lipscombe had committed the offences in 2015 and 2016 despite being under a barring order.

The Evening Standard reports that Lipscombe, who used to be a paralegal, claimed to be a “grade A fee earner” and represented a client in a High Court civil action in 2016.

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Companies House records show that Lipscombe is the owner of RN-Law Ltd, with an address just off Chancery Lane in the heart of legal London. He gives his occupation as “lawyer”, which unlike “solicitor” is not a protected term.

RN-Law’s website says that it is “not a law firm”, but rather an “independent legal consultancy”. It admits that there are “certain regulatory limitations on what RN-Law Ltd can actually do”, but says that it can legally provide in-house legal services.

But Southwark Crown Court heard that Lipscombe was not as cautious offline, with the Standard reporting that he took a civil claim to the High Court, “introduced himself to his opponent as a solicitor, and did not correct the claim when it was repeated to the judge in open court”.

The SRA confirmed to Legal Cheek that it made an order against Lipscombe on 10 August 2015. Despite that, he carried on “holding himself out to be a solicitor” between 11 August 2015 and 14 July 2016. A separate offence of conducting litigation when unqualified took place between 29 April 2016 and 17 May 2016.

A judge is due to pass sentence on 6 March.

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16 Comments

Anonymous

Did he win?

(72)(3)

tips@legalcheek.com

So stupid. He could have just wait for the Super Exam / SQE to come through and do exactly same thing without violating any rules.

(57)(2)

Anonn

Others who have been reported to the SRA and left their firms have also opened ‘legal consultancies’.

Clients can find this out just by Googling their names.

Absolutely shameless.

(23)(4)

Anon

A guy who failed in my LPC class is doing this. You can find him on google maps in Bromley. He calls himself a lawyer on companies house filings.

(12)(0)

Lord Harley on trial

I’m back….

(18)(0)

Anon

I thought “legal” and “lawyer” were protected terms; or at lease the SRA site says so.

(1)(5)

A lawyer

Have you got a link to where it says that? The BSB handbook for example has no such restriction whilst, the dictionary indicates that lawyer can mean anyone who studies or practices the law so could include law students. Of course, lawyers would also cover those not regulated by the SRA such as Barristers and Legal Executives so I would be interested to see if that is there.

(5)(4)

Anon

Why should I give you a link, lazy ass? Anyway I hardly think the dictionary is good authority on this point.

(2)(17)

RPA

Here is the link. Sorry about that rude chap wasting your time.

https://tinyurl.com/2fcpre6

(21)(3)

s181 2007 Act

“Legal (executive)” or “lawyer” are not protected terms (and by that I mean there is no criminal offence committed through their inappropriate use per se)

(1)(0)

Saba

He should be ashamed of himself. Is money the only thing this person cares about.

(5)(0)

danny levine

Will the law apply itself here as it can and pass sentence?

(0)(0)

Anon

Dodgy clients go for such bogus solicitors because these bogus solicitors do not have any feara of gettin struck off and they can advice all the illegal things to their dodgy clients.

(1)(1)

Anon

What’s the update on this guy?

(2)(0)

Chadwick

I know this guy…..and worked with him a few years ago. What happened to the sentencing on 6th March? Why did it not take place??

(2)(0)

Anon

How do you know it did not take place?

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.

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