"I'll jus' blame my seccy."

A construction lawyer has been struck off for drink driving, driving while disqualified, and then lying about it on expense forms - which he tried to blame on his secretary.

Neel Mehta was a partner at TLT in 2016 when he was disqualified from driving for 12 months after being caught over the limit. 

He joined Ashfords in 2018, but just as the move was announced in the trade press he was caught drink driving a second time, this time through the centre of Bristol in his Mercedes while more than double the legal alcohol limit.

Mehta pleaded guilty again and was banned from driving for 40 months. But his allergy to buses and bikes was evidently too great as almost immediately be began to drive while disqualified.

On at least two occasions he gave lifts to colleagues, including Ashfords head of construction Patrick Blake, who was an unwitting passenger as Mehta committed a criminal offence by getting behind the wheel.

As well as promising that he had not been convicted of any criminal offence other than minor motoring offences in the Ashfords partnership deed, Mehta submitted signed expenses claims for petrol – one for £46.80 and one for £17.10 – falsely stating that he possessed a valid driving licence and insurance.

After police contacted Ashfords in 2020, an urgent meeting called by HR saw the partner reveal that he had been banned for 40 months, “I think”, and claim that his wife, who was in the process of divorcing him, had driven on the trips for which he submitted expenses.

Mehta told Ashfords HR that he omitted to mention such trifles as he “considered it a personal matter which did not affect his work”.

The firm reported the matter to the SRA and Mehta resigned in 2020. He immediately joined Keystone Law, where he signed another contract confirming that he had no criminal convictions and had not been investigated by a previous firm or the SRA, despite the fact that he had two criminal convictions, had been  investigated by Ashfords, and was currently under investigation by the SRA. 

At the SDT hearing Mehta claimed that he had “no recollection” of signing the Ashfords expense policy and that he “did not recognise” the signatures on the forms. He alleged that his secretary had signed them with his name and was, as a result, lying under oath when she testified that she had not.

The tribunal said he was not a credible witness and accepted his secretary's account “in its entirety”, emphasising that it was common ground that she was “extremely efficient and good at her job” and was also, unlike Mehta, a “straightforward witness”.

Mehta made the novel argument that the SDT couldn’t find him guilty of breaching the warranties in his Keystone contract which required him to disclose past convictions and investigations, because he had only read the parts which dealt with his pay.

The tribunal did not believe him. “He was an extremely experienced lawyer who would regularly scrutinise contracts as part of his everyday work”, it said. "He knew he could not provide the warranties... but proceeded to sign the Contract regardless."

Described by the SRA as a “chancer”, Mehta “considered himself to be free of the network of obligations that all other solicitors were bound by”, said the tribunal.

It said his misconduct was motivated by self-preservation in order to maintain his reputation and income, and that his conduct was “a complete departure from the standards of integrity probity and trustworthiness expected of solicitors”.

Mehta's conduct was “aggravated by his dishonesty” which was “deliberate, calculated and repeated”. The nadir was his attempt to “conceal his wrongdoing by placing the blame on others”, in particular his former secretary, "whereas the reality was that he had given untrue evidence in order to protect his own position".

Mehta was struck off and ordered to pay costs of £27k.

A TLT spokesperson said, “The events which led to this outcome were not disclosed by Mr Mehta to us at the time of his employment at TLT".

A Keystone Law spokesperson confirmed that it had sacked him, stating that he "provided formal warranties that turned out to be untrue" and "subsequently failed to maintain the confidence of Keystone’s compliance department over the next 10 months which resulted in the termination of his contract”. 

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Tip Off ROF


Anonymous Anonymous 18 August 23 09:59

Another example of giving the legal profession a bad name.  Do AI Robot lawyers drink and drive or tell lies?

LondonLife 18 August 23 10:00

I'm intrigued what solicitors like him do after being struck off. His whole career is over.

Hmm 18 August 23 10:02

Still holding himself out as a solicitor ....



MC Question Man 18 August 23 10:04

Yo! Question Man in da house, make way let me through,

I'm not sure about this one, how about you?

Mehta's given his word that there's been no criminal investigations,

So it's fair for me to raise some Witch Hunt allegations. 

Did he really drive or was it in the Mehta-vervse?

Is this another man ruined by the feminists' curse?

They say he's a drunken liar, they say he's a chancer,

I say that his secretary should be a pole-dancer.

He's another victim of the system, subject to unfair ruin,

Someday he'll be cleared of all wrongdoing.

Anon 18 August 23 10:13

MC Question Man 18 August 23 10:04: perfectly captures Question Man, who is everyone’s favourite sociopath.

Anon 18 August 23 10:14

At anon 9:59 - my experience of testing the leading "legal AI" is that it tells an awful lots of lies/made up bollocks!

Former colleague 18 August 23 10:31

His dishonesty and lack of integrity seemed to be worn as badges of honour.  His toxic behaviours went unchallenged, one presumes because of the relatively high monthly billings. At what point do clients question the integrity of his advice and time recording (and therefore invoices) on past deals?

Anonymous 18 August 23 10:43


We all like people who haven't been foynd guilty of any wrongdoing whatsoever by the BSB!

Not the legal profession. Just him.

Their argument must have some force. Its got you singing!

What was?

What perfectly captures 'Question Man'?

What is?

The question is are you?

Downvote if you agree.

Anonymous 18 August 23 11:08

"We all like people who haven't been foynd guilty of any wrongdoing whatsoever by the BSB!

Not the legal profession. Just him.

Their argument must have some force. Its got you singing!

What was?

What perfectly captures 'Question Man'?

What is?

The question is are you?

Downvote if you agree."


This doesn't rhyme as well as your first one. 

Anon 18 August 23 11:17

@Anonymous 18 August 23 10:43 used the word “foynd”. Can he please tell us what this word means. Thanks.

David the destrOyer 18 August 23 11:31

Everyone should leave him alone everyone knows secretaries always get it wrong anyway

Anon 18 August 23 12:42

@12.17 - because it’s being used as a unit of language! Faceplant doh!

Anyone know what “foynd” means?

Anon 18 August 23 13:59

Anonymous 18 August 23 13:34: because you are using it as a unit of language - silly!

And you must know what you meant by that word, because you used it! Come on, tell us! What does “foynd” mean?

Hey, Nonny Mouse! 18 August 23 14:04

"Currently holding himeself out as a lawyer":

From his current bio:

"With my international experience in legal, I can help our WES wind team in exploring new organization forms for international partner contracts." 

What a load of tosh - one might say he's foynd of mistakes. You would have thought that he had found a decent secretary by now...

Anonymous 18 August 23 14:15

@13.59 - but are you saying 'foynd' is a word or are you saying it is not a word silly?

Everyone foynds it very odd!

Usedtoworkinsamefirm 18 August 23 16:50

an extraordinarily  graceless and arrogant  man  even   by the standards  of the Construction team he was part of and whilst he was quite junior.  

Keystone Kop 18 August 23 17:09

Between big drinkers and sleaze merchants, the Keystone Christmas Party must be an insurance nightmare...

Lord Lester 19 August 23 12:27

Anonymous 18 August 23 21:00 - unfortunately, that is not the case. The BSB did not clear me. They had no jurisdiction to interfere with the decision of the House of Lords that I had harassed Ms Sanghera and offered to obtain her a peerage in exchange for sex. As a sleaze merchant, I’ll fit right in at the Keystone Christmas party!

Anonymous 19 August 23 13:10

@Giggle - although of course he didn't. False accusations are very common when it comes to sexual harassment.

Anonymous 19 August 23 23:13

@[email protected] - the BSB didn't find you guilty of any wrongdoing whatsoever. Please show why you think otherwise (you won't be able to).

Although the House of Lords didnt find Lord Lester to be a sleazebag, it voted that the process used against him was unfair, which it clearly was. The House of Lords has responded by removing the right of the House to vote on conduct Committee recommendations, which doesn't exactly instil confidence in proceedings.

Anonymous 20 August 23 08:41

I'm not sure that we'll ever get to the bottom of this Lord Lester business, the facts are too labyrinthine for mere mortals to comprehend.

All i'll say is that the BSB are the gold standard, so if they've cleared him of all wrongdoing then that's good enough for me.

Lord Lester 20 August 23 09:09

Anonymous 19 August 23 23:13: it’s very kind of you to take an interest in my case but you are misguided. The BSB did not clear me of the wrongdoing found by the House of Lords. That is for the simple reason that they had no jurisdiction to intervene with the findings of an entirely separate body. 

The initial vote of the House of Lords was that the process was unfair and the matter was remitted to the Committee for its consideration. The Committee found the process to be fair and upheld the decision of the Commissioner that I had sexually harassed Ms Sanghera and offered to obtain her a peerage in exchange for sex. The House of Lords then voted to endorse the Committee’s findings.

The upshot of the House of Lords’ proceedings is that I was found to have harassed Ms Sanghera and offered to obtain her a peerage in exchange for sex, further to a fair process. And none of that was interfered with by the BSB, which had no power to do so.

Sexually harassing someone and offering to obtain them a peerage in exchange for sex certainly makes them a sleaze merchant in my opinion. So sign me up to the Keystone Christmas party!



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