Bad Sign: Ropes & Gray trainee barred for forgery

June 25, 2019

2 min read

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What's going on here?

A former trainee at Ropes & Gray has been barred for tracing a client’s signature. She claimed the document with the forged signature was the document which had been lost.

What does this mean?

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the governing body for solicitors, has rules which all solicitors must follow. The forgery was said to be a breach of two of those rules. These were Principle 2, act with integrity and Principle 6, behaving in a way that maintains the trust the public places in you and the provision of legal services.

As the trainee was not yet qualified, she was sanctioned under a section 43 order. This means she is not allowed to work in a law firm without prior permission from the SRA. She has also been ordered to pay a penalty of £2,000.

What's the big picture effect?

The crux of this issue is the regulation of solicitors and how seriously ethics and ethical practice is taken. The public and clients place a large amount of trust in law firms and their lawyers. As such, the strong sanctions, including barring those in breach of SRA regulations, is the best solution to ensure trust and confidence within the profession.

Further, this regulation is essential given the subject matter that lawyers often deal with. Not only do they work on commercial transactions often involving large fees, which necessitates excellent regulation if only for the fees they are being paid, but they also frequently deal with criminal and human rights cases which concern the freedoms we all enjoy. Therefore, it is essential that the legal profession is held to a high standard.  

In addition to this, the incident just highlights the need for truth, transparency and clear ethical practice in law. Undoubtedly, this will serve as a warning to anyone that contemplates sub-standard practice in the future.

Report written by Harina C

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