In my line of work you’re supposed to pretend ideas come out of nowhere but this column was triggered by a well-argued piece by my former parish noting the contrast between senior lawyers let off with fines for regulatory breaches while juniors are routinely struck off. The question in a nutshell is why juniors are banned while senior hands like Gary Senior at Baker McKenzie and Ryan Beckwith at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer were been fined for failings linked to sexual advances to staff. Senior was in June handed a £55,000 fine, reopening the debate but the Junior Lawyers Division of the Law Society had the previous month already publicly proclaimed its loss of confidence in the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) following its prosecution of rookie lawyers with apparent mental health issues.
This debate has been much rehearsed in the last two years given cases such as Capsticks’ recently-qualified solicitor Claire Matthews, who was struck off after lying to conceal the accidental loss of client documents. Other notable cases have seen junior solicitors Emily Scott and Sovani James banned despite arguing for mitigation of toxic work cultures and high pressure. Continue reading “Comment: Are stressed junior lawyers being struck off too easily? It’s time for watchdogs to consider a more flexible approach”