It's been a bad week for dodgy lawyers: a former Hogan Lovells partner has been charged by the police for fiddling his expenses and an ex-Mishcon partner faces a lengthy jail term after being found guilty of fraud.

First up is Christopher Grierson, the previously well-respected HogLove litigator, who was thrown out of the firm in May after an internal investigation discovered he had been fiddling the expenses for four years to the tune of £1 million. To put this into perspective, Grierson must have been claiming an average of £5k per week. But then he was only paid £830k per year, which is not a patch on those £2m lawyers over at Links. How else could he make up the difference?

Working with lightning speed, the City of London police charged Grierson this week with four counts of false accounting. He will appear before the City of London Magistrates Court  on 9 January 2012, according to a  Lawyer report.

    Some snouts in the trough yesterday

However the amounts Greirson is alleged to have stolen look petty compared to the case of ex Mishcon partner Kevin Steele. Back  in 2008, Steele was accused by the Serious Fraud Office of helping a former client obtain a €22m (£18m) loan by producing fake letters showing his client had £76m available as security. Turns out he didn't, and this week Steele was found guilty of fraud at Southwark Crown Court this week and looks to be facing a good long stretch behind bars.

So not a great week for the reputation of the legal profession and with the SRA reported to be examining over 100 further cases of fraud at law firms across the country, there may well be plenty more revelations of dodgy doings to emerge.

Neither Hogan Lovells nor Mishcons wished to comment.

UPDATE: Former Fullbright and Jaworski partner Richard Simkin (previously head of litigation at Richards Butler, as was) and a senior employee, Zakia Sharif, will appear before the Old Bailey in January 2012 to face accusations that they defrauded the firm.
Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 09 December 11 12:01

The first of these is just old-fashioned 'fingers in the till' which is at least understandable. But in the latter case, the solicitor appears to have obtained no personal gain!

Why on earth do solicitors (who are first and foremost officers of the court) go to so much trouble to help their dodgy clients? They risk ruining their livelihoods, doing porridge, and bringing the profession into disrepute.

Assuming no pressure is brought to bear by the client, the answer can only be that they value their client's instructions more than their overriding duty to the court. Or common sense, for that matter.