A City solicitor has been suspended from the legal profession for a year, after police cautioned him for possession of cocaine, twice. 

Matthew Podger was first cautioned by police for possession of cocaine in 2014, when he was an associate at Slaughter and May. On that occasion Podger self-reported the incident to the Magic Circle firm and told the SRA that it was a "one off and uncharacteristic lapse of judgment." He joined Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in 2017 and informed them about the caution.

However, Podger suffered another lapse of judgment in 2018, when police arrested him outside his London home and cautioned him again for possession of the rich man's aspirin. This time, Podger decided not to report his transgression to Cleary or the SRA

And he might have got away with it, had it not been for a pesky anonymous letter in 2019 that alerted Cleary's head of HR about the incident. Cleary suspended Podger and he resigned from the firm shortly afterwards.

The matter was brought to the SRA. Podger told the regulator that he failed to self-report for the second caution as he was undergoing marital problems, and wanted to "maintain his livelihood and save his marriage." 

In mitigation, the solicitor said that his personal life was under "significant stress" at the time - he was working long hours away from home, and the "deterioration of his marriage accelerated" after the caution.

Podger believed that had he told the firm, his wife would not have supported him through the process, and it would "almost certainly result in his losing his job and his career and so his marriage and home too." Which is ultimately what happened, the tribunal noted. 

Podger admitted a lack of integrity, but denied dishonesty. The SRA dropped its initial allegation that the lawyer's failure to self-report had been dishonest. 

Following a settlement agreement with the SRA, Podger was suspended from the legal profession for a year and order to pay costs of £1,800. He has also been banned from taking a position at a firm as a compliance officer.

A spokesman for Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton declined to comment.


Tip Off ROF


Dearie 04 September 20 11:16

Inconsistent SRA yet again; solicitor lies about not having a notifiable police arrest and caution and gets a year suspension? Lie for a week about losing documents and you're flung by catapult into the sunset like a booger. 

Also, this man is an idiot. .

Rep 04 September 20 13:09

@11:16 - I heard this argument before and recall someone saying the major difference was that snorting white powder doesn't potentially expose sensitive case-related materials, whereas lying about losing documents does, and that explains the difference in punishments. Not trying to start an argument as I don't know enough about either case - just repeating something I read. It may have merit, it may not. 

Agreed on the idiocy of this man though. 

Anonymous 04 September 20 15:23

Rep, can you have a word with yourself please?

This is the Internet. We don't do polite, balanced, 'food for thought' posts around here. If we did then there would be an unacceptable risk of a polite, enlightening discussion breaking out. So either you think that this chap has done absolutely nothing wrong, should be reinstated by close of play, and that this is all the doing of the incompetent SJW Cucklords who run the SRA; or you think that he's literally Mecha-Hitler. Pick one.

Anonymous 04 September 20 15:25

Mind you, if they struck off every solicitor who works 2700 hours a year in a US practice who relies on Colombian marching powder, the SRA might....actually be doing it's job for once ffs.

Anonymous 04 September 20 16:54

Not usual for the police to commit the manpower to lurking outside someone's home to arrest someone for a small amount of cocaine, even if they receive a tip-off. Someone important clearly had it in for him.


Anonymous 05 September 20 01:17

Yeah it's not about an officer of the court willfully committing a criminal act, facilitating the growth of organised crime, corruption and everything that gfoes with it.  It's just like lost docs or something. Seriously go and have a fucking word with yourselves junkie pricks & preferably fuck off out out of the profession.

Je Suis Monty Don l'Autobus 05 September 20 06:07

If you were the head of HR at a law firm and you received such a scurrilous "anonymous tip off" about a matter that allegedly occurred two years ago, would you not just chuck it straight in the bin?

a perfectly normal human being 06 September 20 03:03

Is there any valid reason, at all, why recreational drug use remains illegal?

Pearly Queen 07 September 20 00:13

Breach of principle 7 SRA? The truth is the whole regularity environment is unfit for purpose. The outcomes erratic. Mess upon mess. Nobodyy likes you SRA.

Anonymous 08 September 20 09:10

This isn’t the first time an associate at Cleary’s London office has be found with cocaine, just look at Mr Mostyn back in the day. The firm clearly has a culture of working their staff to the bone and not supporting the associates in their hour of need. 

Their monthly cheese and wine events is rife with cocaine use in the disabled toilets.

Genie in a bottke 09 September 20 07:23

One would assume Cleary could halt all this negative news that has appeared in the press these past few years. It’s disappointing to read  such bad press which once was a leading law firm.

FBD summer vac scheme alumnus (now working at McDonald’s) 11 September 20 07:10

He was on my vac scheme at Freshfields. Spent the entire penultimate night confirming he’d decided to take his sailboat tanned arse to Slaughters. 

In retrospect, he’d have been so much happier at FBD. 

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