Thursday, October 29, 2009

Conviction In Scotland Leads To New York Disbarment

The New York Appellate Division for the Third Judicial Department has disbarred an attorney who had been convicted on plea of guilty to embezzlement from clients. The conviction was in Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Scotland and involved the theft of 130,000 pounds (about $178,000). Details from the web page of the Law Society of Scotland:

[A f]ormer solicitor...was sentenced today, Wednesday, December 10, to three years imprisonment, reduced from four years for an earlier guilty plea, at Edinburgh Sheriff Court for embezzling £130,000 of client funds. [The socilitor] had been banned from practising as a solicitor in 2004 following Law Society of Scotland investigations.

She was officially struck from the roll of solicitors on 1 September 2005 by the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal after being found guilty of professional misconduct. This could not be made public at the time because of ongoing criminal proceedings.

Breaches of accounts rules and discrepancies in client accounts were uncovered during a Law Society inspection of the firm where [the solicitor] worked, leading to the Society's request to the court to appoint a Judicial Factor to the firm in December 2003, to protect the firm's clients.

The Court of Session confirmed the appointment of the Judicial Factor in January 2004, at which point [her] practising certificate was suspended. Following receipt of a detailed report on the firm, the Law Society took steps to prosecute [her] before the Scottish Solicitors Discipline tribunal. 

Philip Yelland, Law Society of Scotland director of standards, said: “The Law Society acted to protect the firm’s clients and [she] has not been able to practise as a solicitor in Scotland since 2004.

“Solicitors are trusted to handle millions of pounds of client funds each year. Honesty and integrity are absolutely paramount within the solicitors' profession and those who are suspected of stealing from clients will be investigated and, if they are found to be acting dishonestly or fraudulently, strong action will be taken against them, both by the Law Society and the courts.”

Additional details are available at this link. (Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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