Clyde & Co has suspended two lawyers, including a partner, while alleged breaches of accounting rules are investigated.
The firm said today it had recently referred two lawyers to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) regarding alleged breaches of obligations in the SRA handbook, including its Code of Conduct and the Accounts Rules.
The former includes provisions on the fundamental ethics and professional standards expected from lawyers and law firms, particularly in relation to clients, their money and assets as well as the handling of the business in areas such as governance, equality and regulatory compliance, while the accounts rules cover the protection of client money.
A firm spokesperson said: ‘The solicitors have been suspended pending an internal investigation. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage.’
The firm has previously been penalised by the SRA in this area. Back in 2017, three Clydes partners were each handed £10,000 penalties and the firm fined £50,000 for breaching accounting and money laundering rules.
In that case, corporate partners Christopher Duffy and Simon Gamblin, as well as projects partner Nick Purnell, admitted they allowed a client bank account to be used as a banking facility, acting against SRA accounting rules and in breach of obligations under money laundering regulations. Clydes was also judged to have failed to follow rules on dealing with dormant client balances.
The fine was at the time said to be one of the largest handed out by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal against a law firm. Clydes responded in 2017 by saying it had worked with the SRA to strengthen its approach to risk management.