A newly qualified solicitor has been struck off after she knowingly overcharged clients when she was a trainee.
Emily Scott joined the firm Quality Solicitors De Vita Platt in Barton-upon-Humber as a paralegal in 2010 before being taken on as a trainee in 2012. She soon found that there was very little of quality about the firm. The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal heard that the firms' two partners, Jonathan de Vita and Christopher Platt, repeatedly ripped off a number of clients. In one instance a client was charged £52,000 for work valued at £2,500.
Platt – who claimed he couldn’t live on less than £2,000 a week – bullied the unfortunate trainee into assisting with the fraud and, subsequently, his attempts to cover it up. Scott did not benefit financially and ultimately reported the firm to the SRA. She qualified in November 2014.
Last week the Tribunal struck off both Platt and de Vita and ordered them to pay £143,000 in costs. It found that Scott “had been deceived, pressured, bullied and manipulated” by the partners, and acknowledged that she had exposed them at great personal cost. But her misconduct was so serious that the only appropriate action was to strike her off too. Despite clearly being under the thumb of a colossal pair of twatmandrills, she was ordered to pay costs of £2,000 and found her career over before it even started.
UPDATE: Quality Solicitors is apparently very keen to distance itself from certain non-quality solicitors, but it's been a struggle. A spokeswoman told RollOnFriday, "De Vita Platt have not been part of the QualitySolicitors network since 2015, but failed to register their exit from the network and change in trading name with the Solicitors Regulation Authority or the Law Society. QualitySolicitors informed both bodies that the firm were no longer part of the network, but were unable to register this without the cooperation of the firm". It meant that the firm was referred to as Quality Solicitors De Vita Platt by everyone, including the SRA, right up until it was closed down in January 2018. Ah well.