SRA bans paralegal and trainee from working for law firms

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7 July 2016


the Cube

SRA: paralegal at ABS breached client confidentiality

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has banned a paralegal at an alternative business structure and a trainee solicitor at former Hull firm Ward Legal from working for law firms.

The SRA said Thomas German, a paralegal at Ageas Law, breached client confidentiality and sent e-mails to his partner at another law firm making comments that “failed to encourage equality of opportunity and respect for diversity”.

Ageas Law, set up in April 2013, was the first joint venture ABS set up by an insurer and law firm, in a partnership between Ageas, one of the country’s largest insurers, and NewLaw Solicitors, the Cardiff-based personal injury firm.

In a regulatory settlement agreement, the SRA said Mr German was employed as a litigation paralegal by Ageas Law between June 2014 and March 2015.

The regulator said he admitted “breaching client confidentiality by sending e-mails attaching client documents to his partner at another firm of solicitors when this was not required for the proper and effective representation of his clients”.

The SRA also said Mr German had sent “two e-mails to his partner in which he made comments that failed to encourage equality of opportunity and respect for diversity”.

The SRA said Mr German resigned from Ageas Law in March 2015 and is not currently working in a legal practice.

He was made subject to an order under section 43 of the Solicitors Act 1974, banning him from working for a law firm without the permission of the SRA.

In a separate decision, the regulator banned Mantas Montvydas, a trainee solicitor at closed Hull law firm Ward Legal, from working for law firms.

The SRA said Mr Montvydas “was found to have made improper transfers from the firm’s client account to the office account, misled the forensic investigation officer and overcharged on two probate matters”.

Ward Legal was closed by the SRA in December last year because there was “reason to suspect dishonesty” on the part of director Andrew March, head of the firm’s property department and Mr Montvydas. No decision on Mr March has been published.

The SRA also intervened in the practice of the firm’s other director and minority shareholder, family lawyer Simon Rosenthall, with his being adjudged bankrupt in November 2015 one of the reasons cited. According to Companies House, he ceased being a director a week before this.

In a regulatory settlement agreement, the SRA said Mr Montyvydas, who was “not currently employed in a legal practice”, would be subject to a section 43 order as well.

Ward Legal, which had offices in Hull and Beverley, was a general practice covering conveyancing, family, landlord and tenant, planning, and wills and probate work.

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