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Ban for ex-Herbert Smith Freehills paralegal who faked overtime approval

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Claimed extra 260 hours over two-month period

Herbert Smith Freehills’ London office

A former paralegal at City law firm Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has been barred from the legal profession after she was found to have submitted a number of overtime forms with fake approvals on them.

Catherine Margaret Hunt, who worked in the firm’s dispute department between November 2011 and January 2019, submitted nine overtime claim forms for a total of 260 hours over a two-month period in 2018.

HSF launched an investigation after becoming concerned that the overtime claims were unusually high, according to a regulatory settlement agreement published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

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The firm identified the claim forms were signed ‘AL’, the initials of Hunt’s former manager, who subsequently confirmed they had not approved any overtime for Hunt. The paralegal was dismissed for gross misconduct and reported to the SRA.

The SRA made Hunt subject to a section 43 order, which prevents her from working in a law firm without its prior permission. In doing so, the SRA said her “conduct makes it undesirable for her to be involved in a legal practice because it was dishonest.”

Hunt was ordered to pay the costs of the investigation of £300.

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13 Comments

Jamie W

If I was a paralegal for 8 years I would probably also be tempted to scam the firm for more money.

(43)(8)

William H

She was basically on minimum wage doing the same work as a trainee for almost a decade. Can you blame her?

(31)(7)

Name

London paralegals earn substantially more than the minimum wage. Senior paralegals earn substantially more than the national average wage even.

(13)(4)

Tom

There is an article that shows how Investment Bankers and lawyers work minimum wage when you take into account the actual working hours and overtime

(11)(1)

Anon

How do you work that out??? Someone earning £100k+ would need to work more than 24 hours per day, 365 days per year to earn the minimum wage

(5)(6)

Anon

£100k is way below the minimum wage I would consider. Wouldn’t get out of bed for that.

Anonymous

Omg are you for real? I was a Paralegal for £18,000 a year full-time role in London!

(0)(0)

Hooray Henry

Without half of the stress. Paralegals at my firm were off at 530 on the dot, while the trainees were staying there till 9 or 10.

Also, no one was forcing her to stay there. If you don’t like your job, or feel undervalued, then move somewhere else. It’s a free country.

(5)(6)

Anonymous

Well done for naming her LC, truly. Jobsworth cretins

(30)(3)

Anonymous

A strike off was the only option. However, do we need to name and shame? She probably feels terrible as it is.

(33)(2)

Trainee

Let’s all be kind and keep our opinions to ourselves. LC sometimes becomes a forum for jibes and nastiness 🙂

(7)(6)

Jamie

No one is being nasty to her?? Every comment is literally coming to her defence.

You should work on your comprehension skills.

(8)(1)

Anonymous

The paralegal remuneration at HSF is pretty good in comparison to other firms, and the overtime policy is very generous (not all firms pay for overtime). Stealing from the firm is indefensible, especially after working there for a number of years. Well done to the SRA on this one.

(1)(0)

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