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Trainee solicitor banned for lying about work done for colleague

SRA: Section 43 order

A trainee solicitor who lied about the work he had done covering for a colleague who was on annual leave has been banned from working in the profession.

Under section 43 of the Solicitors Act 1974, Daniel Hall cannot work in any capacity at a regulated law firm without the permission of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

According to a notice published by the SRA, Mr Hall was a trainee at Liverpool firm Bermans between September 2018 and September 2020.

In August 2019, he managed some conveyancing matters for a colleague while she was on annual leave, including six cases for the same client.

He did not take all of the actions he was asked to but told his colleague that he had, producing two emails with the time and date removed to hide when they were sent.

When the colleague queried these, he produced the same two emails but altered the times and dates and maintained that the emails were sent as requested. She checked with the IT department, which showed they had been tampered with. Mr Hall then admitted what he had done.

The colleague had already told the client that the cases had been progressed and so had to apologise for doing so.

The firm gave Mr Hall a warning and reported him to the regulator.

He admitted to the SRA that his actions were “intentionally misleading and dishonest” and that, as a result, “he has been involved in conduct which means that it is undesirable for him to be involved in a legal practice”.

In mitigation, he said there were personal circumstances “causing him a significant amount of worry and distraction at the time of the events”.

Further, he felt “under pressure from his workload as a trainee solicitor” and said his actions were a result of him trying to keep up with his work.

The SRA reported that Mr Hall “has moved on with his career, away from legal practice, since accepting the consequences of his actions”.