Law Society Disciplinary Tribunal

macedo

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In December 2006 the LS DT found Thomas Byrne guilty of misconduct in that he, among other things,
(1) allowed a deficit of 1.7m on his client account
(2) "allowed personal transactions of the solicitor himself to be drawn on the client bank account, where no cleared funds were held on his behalf."

Details on p 53-4 of March 2007 Law Gazette

Any time I ever discussed the mechanics of client accounts with solicitors they displayed massive levels of paranoia about their accuracy.

Can anybody think of any reason why a person found guilty of the above should be allowed to continue practising?
 


badboy2

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Ethics and solicitors is fascinating.

This is their Enron moment.

Enron has actually made the lives of accountants (that didn't loose their jobs) better.

We now have the moral and legal authority to tell dodgy clients to F* off.

From talking to solicitors it appears that they feel that it is acceptable to bend rules to keep clients where as an accountant is obliged to ditch such clients.

I think the Law Society has let solicitors down by not enforcing the rues more rigidly.
 

macedo

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Last sentence should have read:

Can anybody think of any reason why a person found guilty of the above should have been allowed to continue practising?

I'm hoping for an explanation of the Law Society's thinking.
 

FutureTaoiseach

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An independent regulator of the legal-profession is the only way to avoid this in the future. But with so many TDs being lawyers themselves, don't hold your breath. :roll:
 

johnfás

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The indepedent Financial Services Regulatory Authority didn't do a whole lot to halt whatever practises caused the banks to give out the money in an irresponsible manner so the idea that an independent regulator is the definintive method of sorting out the legal profession is a bit of a false argument.
 

jerryp

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johnfás said:
The indepedent Financial Services Regulatory Authority didn't do a whole lot to halt whatever practises caused the banks to give out the money in an irresponsible manner so the idea that an independent regulator is the definintive method of sorting out the legal profession is a bit of a false argument.
It is still better than self - regulation.
 

pollyanna

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As a solicitor I was quite stunned by this. Solicitors are paranoid about their client accounts because of the grief you get for any deficit (no matter how small). So if the bank screws up and takes bank charges from the wrong account we yell at them for doing so. I was once carpeted as a trainee solicitor for suggesting that i could lodge a cheque and draw on it on the same day - a lesson i won't forget in a hurry.

Bottom line is that the client's account is other people's money. You take other people's money and it's theft. I don't understand how you can take 1.6m (even if you pay it back) and still be allowed to practice.
 

trekkypj

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Heh...

I'm a law student... seriously considering switching to doing the Kings Inns and becoming a barrister... that way I'll be broke but honest lol

This is absurd stuff altogether.
 

johnfás

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trekkypj said:
Heh...

I'm a law student... seriously considering switching to doing the Kings Inns and becoming a barrister... that way I'll be broke but honest lol

This is absurd stuff altogether.
Barristers - honest? You must be mad :roll:

Sure wasn't a Barrister convicted 6 months ago of robbing the damages awarded to his client - a disabled child?
 

trekkypj

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Didn't hear that...

But isn't the money paid to the solicitor first in those kind of cases? Damages I mean...
 

AXL ROSE

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I am about 10 months away from qualifying and this makes me sick. I lost a lot of respect for the law society after attending their professional course. This kind of scandal, of which I suggest we are going to see an awful lot more of, makes me ashamed to be associated with them. I constantly fend off allegations of dishonesty in the legal profession. I am proud that I am going to become a lawyer but I cant help feeling I have been betrayed by Ken Murphy et al. They should all resign in disgrace.
 

johnfás

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trekkypj said:
Didn't hear that...

But isn't the money paid to the solicitor first in those kind of cases? Damages I mean...
The barrister offered some dodgy deal to the unsuspecting parent whereby he'd "sort out" an investment for her [daughter?], yielding an even higher support for her. That was the scenario as far as I remember it.
 

johnfás

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I think the key in most of these cases is that the solicitors in question were sole practitioners. This sort of situation would arise very rarely in a larger practice. I think the same is true of any profession where you have sole practitioners, there is less accountability in their practice and the lines between their professional and personal life become blurred if they are not very careful. This would apply just as much to a profession which is independently regulated.
 

Watcher

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badboy2 said:
Ethics and solicitors is fascinating.

This is their Enron moment.

Enron has actually made the lives of accountants (that didn't loose their jobs) better.

We now have the moral and legal authority to tell dodgy clients to F* off.

From talking to solicitors it appears that they feel that it is acceptable to bend rules to keep clients where as an accountant is obliged to ditch such clients.

I think the Law Society has let solicitors down by not enforcing the rues more rigidly.
Badboy, Enron, and the other financial scandals were facilitated by the tax and accounting professions (dare I say created by them also) which resulted in more work and higher fees generated for such professions with harder and more onerous obligations on clients. It has also made doing business more expensive, far more.
 

Watcher

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FutureTaoiseach said:
An independent regulator of the legal-profession is the only way to avoid this in the future. But with so many TDs being lawyers themselves, don't hold your breath. :roll:
The last thing we need is more regulation. The current legislation should be brought to bear on these individuals. They perpetraded fraud and they should be prosecuted for such and sent to jail for the longest possible time. They should also be hit financially, and severely. The banks are also complicit in this, probably more so, as it was their own procedures they flouted. Effectively, the banks negligently refused to be the watchdog for the registration of legal title to properties.
 

macedo

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johnfás said:
I think the key in most of these cases is that the solicitors in question were sole practitioners. This sort of situation would arise very rarely in a larger practice. I think the same is true of any profession where you have sole practitioners, there is less accountability in their practice and the lines between their professional and personal life become blurred if they are not very careful. This would apply just as much to a profession which is independently regulated.
Maybe dodgy activites are less likely to be uncovered if carried out by sole practitioners, but in Byrne's case the client account deficit was discovered. It is the Law Society's failure to suspend him that astounds me. I can't think of any reason why they would not do so.
 

TheBear

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<Mod>Moved to the Justice forum, and fixed the links. No, no, don't thank me; it's all part of the service.</Mod>
 

Aindriu

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All lawyers are the result of anal sex between men and women :lol:
 


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