Pinnochio

Caught being a little economical with the actualité


A solicitor has been struck off for dishonestly saying in a job interview that she was employed, when she had actually been sacked by her previous firm.

Julie Holdaway joined Fairhurst Menuhin as a conveyancing solicitor in July 2018. The firm dismissed her just two months later for poor attendance. 

Holdaway, who had been qualified since 1993, signed up to a recruitment agency, Clayton Legal, and told them she was still working at Fairhurst Menuhin. In May 2019 the recruitment agency put her forward for an interview with Kew Law in Essex.

The conveyancer said in her interview with Kew Law that she was looking to leave her current firm as her department wasn't busy and she occasionally found herself as the only person in the office. 

Kew Law initially offered Holdaway a job, but she requested a higher wage than the £34,000 that she claimed to be earning. She also said that she needed to serve one month's notice at her current firm.

A partner at Kew Law thought the notice period was a bit short and when checking the position, discovered that Fairhurst Menuhin had dismissed Holdaway eight months earlier. 

When questioned by the recruitment agency, Holdaway claimed that Fairhurst Menuhin didn't have sufficient work for her, and so they let her go. However, it transpired that she had been sacked Holdaway for low attendance during her short stint. 

Holdaway, who previously had an unblemished record, told the SRA that she had lied as she was "too ashamed" to explain she had been dismissed and was out of work. 

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal found that Holdaway had been dishonest and failed to act with integrity.

The tribunal said that "being unemployed is not a cause for shame or embarrassment," but "misrepresenting facts and lying to a prospective employer" was "wrong and a material breach" of a solicitor's obligations to the public.

In the past, some legal recruiters have been known to stretch the truth a bit by inventing fantasy phone calls or fake members of staff. But in this case, the tribunal highlighted an email from the recruiter to Kew Law, which stated: “As you can imagine when I work with solicitors at this level, you don’t think to even question that what they are telling you in the absolute truth.” 

The tribunal struck Holdaway off the roll and ordered that she pay £2,000 in costs.

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Comments

Anonymous 26 November 21 09:49

Surely there is a difference between lying to the court, a client or a regulator vs telling a porky to a recruiter?

If you tell a lie once in your life that doesn't mean you're fundamentally a dishonest person for forever or none of us would have our practising certificates. 

Anonymous 26 November 21 10:07

Clayton Legal?

Fairhurst Menuhin?

Kew Law?

 

RoF is just making the names of places up at this point.

ShootyOriginal 26 November 21 10:28

Reading between the lines, one wonders if there are other issues in play here, which will not have been helped by being struck off.

I hope that, if she needs help, she is seeking it :(

Anonymous Anonymous 26 November 21 13:04

Good decision to strike her off for dishonestly saying in a job interview that she was employed, when she had actually been sacked by her previous firm. All legal personnel need to be law abiding and not dishonest.

anon 26 November 21 13:21

Took a quick look at the judgment. Looks like she lied on a few occasions - to the recruiter, to the partners interviewing her for the new role and also when she was confirming salary and notice period. She didn't attend proceedings and from what her previous employer said it sounds like she may have had some difficult personal / health issues (those were her reasons for not turning up to work for the majority of the 3 months she worked at the firm).

All in all it sounds like a v sad situation where someone's life may have spiralled out of control. Let's hope they have brighter days ahead. 

 

When you're onto a good thing ... 29 November 21 13:33

If you're so desperate for the job and ashamed to disclose you were sacked for "low attendance", why attract further scrutiny and bargain about salary? Sounds like she was offered the job! 

My view: Take the role, get in there and get on with solving the issues that, according to anon 26 Nov 13:21 and others, that seem to be affecting your personal life ... 

Acknowledge that there's clearly other stuff going on, walk a mile in her shoes etc ...

Je Suis Monty Don l’Autobus 29 November 21 14:40

Oh look, another hapless individual persecuted and stripped of their livelihood by the SRA who just *happens* to be a woman. How very unusual 

Hold on a moment 29 November 21 15:15

Can we just roll back a bit and address the fact that someone who has been apparently qualified since 1993 was on a salary of £34k? Surely even the most remote armpits of this nation no solicitor over 15 pqe is earning so little...

I know there's a discrepancy between London and the regions, but it's crazy that someone with that much experience is paid less than the paralegals at my firm.

Anonymous 30 November 21 07:54

@Je Suis Monty Don l’Autobus - compared to all the men being persecuted for 'sexual misconduct' it is unusual.

Jellymonster 30 November 21 12:21

lying in an interview is "wrong and a material breach" of a solicitor's obligations to the public.

 

erm, what?

FTSRA 01 December 21 17:22

Genuinely feel a passionate hatred towards the SRA and SDT. A bunch of miserable, failed, idealistic lawyers that believe solicitors should adhere to some pseudo-samurai code. 

Anon 02 December 21 13:15

Surely its only a matter of time before the SRA start to take down people for lieing in their personal lives.

“Does my bum look big in this?”

”Like a horse’s arse.”

Bursts out crying: “How could you? You know about my body image issues.”

“I’m sorry but I am a solicitor of the high court and I must be trusted to the Ends of the Earth: I would never lie.”

”Well, it may be big; but lets be honest, its nothing like a horse’s.”

”Good point. I know that dear.”

Pause.

“In fact as I knew that I was telling a mistruth. Lets hold dinner. If I self report quickly we might just be able to avoid a second mortgage for the costs.”

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