Solicitor who acted for clients without telling firm struck off

police station

Police station: Solicitor should not have represented client

A solicitor who concealed from his law firm that he was acting for clients in a personal capacity, getting them to pay £3,250 into his personal bank account, has been struck off.

Michael Lennon’s conduct was “a breach of the trust the firm placed in him, as did his colleagues and clients”, said the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

The tribunal approved a statement of agreed facts and outcome between Mr Lennon and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), which said that he failed to open client files but used his DPP Law’s email address and its letterheads when acting in a personal capacity, which he did during office hours.

Mr Lennon, 44, qualified in 2011 and joined DPP Law the following year. He acted for 11 clients in a private capacity from June 2018, seeking multiple payments from six of them that totalled £3,250. Eight of the clients were either introduced to him by the firm or instructed him in his capacity as its employee.

In one of the other cases, he represented a woman in criminal proceedings without authority – he worked in the civil litigation department and the firm’s criminal legal aid contract specified that only supervised and designated fee-earners could conduct criminal litigation and advocacy.

It was only when the firm’s Crown Court clerk received a call in January 2019 from Liverpool Crown Court concerning the client that Mr Lennon’s conduct came under scrutiny. It turned out that he had represented the client at the police station and at the magistrates’ court.

This led to him leaving the firm the following month, and a review of his files afterwards uncovered his work for the other clients.

The agreement said: “These were serious acts of dishonesty committed over a period of six months, involving several clients… The misconduct cannot be described as spontaneous, it was deliberate and was repeated. He acted in breach of a position of trust.”

Mr Lennon was ordered to pay the SRA costs of £4,750.

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