Cain not able, rules BSB.
Nicola Cain, who was a senior barrister with the BBC before moving to RPC's highly regarded media practice in 2017, admitted fabricating a court order while defending Christopher Steele after he was sued for naming a Russian businessman in his infamous ‘Trump dossier'.
Cain added a fake signature from Senior Master Fontaine in her forged order, which she used to mislead Steele and prevent him from finding out that she had failed to comply with routine disclosure obligations, and that the claimant had applied to strike out Steele's defence as a result.
When a hearing was arranged to sort out the mess, Cain also altered the description of a court order requiring Steele to pay the claimant's £9,000 costs, so that the sum appeared to relate to an extra witness statement instead.
Cain admitted five charges of professional misconduct, which included misleading Steele on another occasion by requesting "urgent instructions" from him for a hearing which had actually taken place the day before.
Cain was pulled from the case once her actions came to light, putting RPC in the position of having to testify that its own lawyer had “actively, seriously and repeatedly misled" its client, and she later left the firm.
During the Bar Standards Board's deliberations, RPC sent the panel a letter rebutting claims about the firm made by Cain's counsel in mitigation.
The BSB chose not to consider the letter, but still found Cain guilty of multiple instances of "serious" and "significant" dishonesty "at the highest level".
Cain's flurry of lies and cover-ups occurred over a matter of days, but her conduct "was not fleeting or momentary", said the BSB in its findings, and her defence that she was in a "difficult working environment" and had mental health issues that meant she was prone to "catastrophising" did not justify her dishonesty.
Cain told RollOnFriday, "As the Tribunal recognised, I self-reported my misconduct and have apologised for it. My behaviour, which took place more than 2 years ago, is not representative of my personal or professional conduct or the dedication with which I represented clients throughout my career".
The former partner accused RPC of having "deprived me of the resource necessary to do my job" and of fostering a "toxic" office environment which "led to my suffering psychiatric injury". She also accused the firm of an "improper attempt to influence the Tribunal".
"I am grateful to those clients, colleagues, peers, friends and family who have supported me throughout this period. I am pleased to have recovered and would now hope to be able to put this difficult experience behind me", added Cain.
James Miller, Managing Partner of RPC, told RollOnFriday, "We fully respect the decision of the Bar Standards Board and the clear reasoning outlined in its published findings".
He added, "We won't be commenting on the specifics of this case or on new allegations made against the firm, save to say that the picture painted is not one that we recognise. Those who know RPC well know us for the supportive and collaborative culture of the firm as much as the quality of the work. As part of that, we offer a range of health and wellbeing programmes for people at all levels of seniority. We will continue to invest in supporting our people through those programmes and more".