A long-serving legal executive who falsely claimed to be witness to a document signing has been barred from the profession.

Julie Goodman, formerly a property manager with Midlands firm Thursfields Legal Limited, admitted misconduct committed while acting for two clients on the sale of their property in 2019. These clients provided the firm with a transfer document in Goodman’s absence, but nobody had witnessed their signatures.

After the sale completed, Goodman noticed her clients’ signature had not been witnessed, so she signed the transfer document as a witness, even though she had not been present at the signature. 

The transfer document was then filed with HM Land Registry before the issue came to light. Goodman told the firm and her clients and the matter was immediately reported to the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Goodman, who had completed 30 years’ service at Thursfields, resigned from her role on Christmas Eve, 2019. A fresh transfer document was signed by both clients and registration completed.

According to an SRA agreement notice published this week, Goodman admitted signing the document as a witness and that she had acted dishonestly. She submitted this was an isolated incident and she had exercised poor judgement for which she has expressed regret and shown insight into her conduct.

Goodman first joined Thursfields in 1985 and – aside from three years with another firm – had worked there continuously ever since. In 2013, she was a finalist in the legal executive of the year category in the Birmingham Law Society’s annual awards.

As part of the agreement with the SRA, she is subject to a section 43 order, preventing any law firm from employing her without first getting permission from the regulator. She also agreed to pay £300 costs.