The legal profession has seen a handful of high profile cases of commercial lawyers caught out in allegations of fraud or questionable behaviour in recent years, a process that often involves the employing law firm rapidly turning on its own staff.
But while the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has referred two partners of Addleshaw Goddard to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) following an investigation into disbursements, the firm looks to be standing by its men.
The SRA referred property partner Emmett Peters and finance partner David Wilson to the SDT after discrepancies were identified in the course of an SRA enquiry in to the activities of a former partner Mark Gilbert, which the regulatory body had been investigating. Addleshaw stressed that the referral for the two current partners was unlinked to the Gilbert enquiry. Wilson and Peters are due to attend an initial hearing next week at the SDT.
Addleshaw issued this statement: ‘In the course of our and the SRA’s enquiries into discrepancies relating to the personal expenses and disbursements of Mark Gilbert, a property partner who resigned from the firm in April 2011, a number of other unconnected discrepancies were identified relating to the description of certain disbursements in some of the matters of Emmett Peters and Dave Wilson. Our investigation satisfied us that those disbursements were properly incurred and that neither individual was dishonest or involved in any personal gain.’
The statement also stressed that Addleshaw had co-operated with the SRA and was not itself being investigated and that no client had suffered any loss. In the context of the two partners, Addleshaw’s statement adds: ‘Emmett Peters and Dave Wilson both… co-operated fully with the SRA investigation and there is no suggestion from the SRA in referring them to the SDT that the relevant disbursements were not properly incurred, nor is any allegation made that either Emmett or Dave was dishonestly involved or seeking any personal gain.’