An apprentice in the law costs team of Leeds law firm Clarion has been banned from working in the solicitors’ profession – except with the permission of the Solicitor Regulation Authority (SRA) – after he admitted acting dishonestly by sending misleading emails to clients.
Ethan Bradley, who worked for Clarion between September 2016 and November 2018, has reached a regulatory settlement agreement with the SRA, which means his conduct will not be referred to a disciplinary tribunal.
The agreement said that, in October 2018, he fabricated emails to three clients to mislead them as to the correct position on their files. These issues came to light after a client raised concerns with the firm that it was not receiving emails that had purportedly been sent by Mr Bradley.
It detailed that Mr Bradley responded to emails from Clients A, B and C requesting an update. In his responses to Clients A and C, Mr Bradley explained that he was waiting for a reply to an email that he had previously sent to another member of staff at the client the previous month. The agreement said he fabricated these emails and included a copy of them in his responses.
Mr Bradley told Client B that he had sent an email the previous day but had received a non-delivery notification. Again, he fabricated this email and included a copy of it in his response.
When the firm became aware of Mr Bradley’s conduct, it began internal disciplinary proceedings. He then resigned.
The agreement said that the ban from the profession – called a section 43 order – was appropriate “because it was dishonest, and it demonstrates that he cannot be relied upon to deal with clients openly and to act in their best interests”.
In mitigation, Mr Bradley said he was “inexperienced and acted out of desperation to manage his increasing caseload”. But he accepted that he was offered full support by Clarion and failed to notify his employer of his concerns.