fake lawyer 650

"Yes, I am a bona fide lawyer, I rest my case, ipso facto, I object"


The SRA has prohibited an ex-Irwin Mitchell call centre employee from working in the profession, after she pretended to be a lawyer at the firm.

Rachel Saunyama was employed by Irwin Mitchell from October 2013 as a 'client experience expert', where she handled and forwarded telephone calls, and passed on emails to relevant departments. Her role did not include giving legal advice or acting for clients.  

The issue arose when an acquaintance of Saunyama was having difficulties with an employer. Saunyama sent an email from her work email address to the employer, purporting to act on behalf of her friend. The employer instructed solicitors and Saunyama emailed them directly.

In February 2022, Saunyama sent six emails, initially to the employer and then to their solicitors. She removed her job title ‘client experience expert’ from her email signature, and inserted after her name ‘for and on behalf of IM LLP’. She described herself as the ‘representative’ of her acquaintance. And when the solicitor referred to Saunyama's acquaintance as "your client", she did not correct them. 

In an email to the employer, Saunyama said that they were giving formal notice to proceed with the matter "via legal channels" and that they had been liaising with the Home Office and employment tribunal. Although, it later emerged that Saunyama had not made any contact with either the Home Office or the employment tribunal.

In March 2022, Irwin Mitchell received a complaint from the employer's firm about Saunyama's handling of the supposed employment tribunal matter.

IM launched an internal investigation and established that it had no record of acting for the purported client in the matter. In a disciplinary interview, Saunyama admitted that she was trying to help her acquaintance with the employment dispute and confessed that she had corresponded directly with the employer's solicitors.

Saunyama told the firm that it was her intention to pass the case on to IM’s employment dispute team. However, the firm found that she had made no attempt to do so.

Irwin Mitchell dismissed Saunyama for gross misconduct and reported her to the SRA.

The regulator has now published an agreed outcome stating that Saunyama acted without honesty and integrity and noting that she expressed regret for her conduct.

The SRA disqualified Saunyama from working at a law firm and ordered that she pay £675 for the costs of the investigation. 


LU iconLet top firms and companies ping your app when they like you for a role. Whether or not you're looking to move, download LawyerUp on the App Store and Google Play.


 

Tip Off ROF

Comments

Anonymous 14 April 23 11:24

"It should have been obvious."

I'm not sure about that to be honest, I mean, have you ever read a letter from Irwin Mitchell?

I'm not sure that I'd back myself to be able to tell the difference...

In need of laughs 14 April 23 14:34

Anonymous 14 April 23 11:24

"It should have been obvious."

I'm not sure about that to be honest, I mean, have you ever read a letter from Irwin Mitchell?"

You snob! :-D 

On a serious note. Why on earth would anyone working in a call centre at a law firm think that it would be acceptable to - pretend to be a lawyer - act on behalf of a friend whilst doing so - actually have the cojones to take action against the employer - and not back down when the employer instructs actual qualified lawyers?!   

 

  

Tuckers Luck 14 April 23 14:40

The real disappointment will be that those down in te scullery of the mill house gut thr hands on te closest thing Irwin’s could call a corporate case this mill’enia albeit it was probably instructed by an employee of Ince. Oh how the mighty have never climbed the sugar cane or been allowed the wash the slag heap dust of their faces.

Anonymous 14 April 23 15:15

"The real disappointment will be that those down in te scullery of the mill house gut thr hands on te closest thing Irwin’s could call a corporate case this mill’enia albeit it was probably instructed by an employee of Ince. Oh how the mighty have never climbed the sugar cane or been allowed the wash the slag heap dust of their faces."

It's twenty to three in the afternoon.

How are you that drunk this early?

Anonymous 15 April 23 10:08

If you’ve slipped on a grape in aisle 6, this is the firm to go to.

If you want to sell your business, this is not the firm to go to. 
 

Horses for courses. 

Anon 17 April 23 08:16

What happened to the friend ?!

IT need to tighten up email usage and checks that scan for anomalies. Why everyone in these firms need a personal mailbox with ability to email anyone is worrying, doesn’t take much to cause the firm damage.

Related News