A paralegal who inflated the number of calls she was making has been told she can no longer work in the legal profession.
Chantelle Dallas, who was employed in the claim preparation team for personal injury specialist National Accident Law Limited, agreed to the ban after falsely logging dozens of calls.
A Solicitors Regulation Authority notice states that the firm, as part of its regular review of volume calls received and made by each fee earner, had noted that the number of units changed on the system by Dallas appeared high against the volume of calls logged. This prompted a more thorough review of her time recording.
Over three randomly selected weeks last year, it was found that no corresponding phone call had been made on 83 out of 323 time entries logged.
These calls had been logged on the case management system as part of the firm’s automated billing process, and could have resulted in clients being billed for calls that did not take place. Ultimately no over-charging occurred because the firm identified and addressed the discrepancy.
Dallas was reported to the SRA in January this year and dismissed following an internal investigation. She admitted dishonestly logging calls that had not been made and that this continued over a protracted period. The SRA noted that she fully admitted the misconduct and co-operated with the investigation, plus that that she received no financial benefit from her conduct.
As a non-solicitor, she is subject to a section 43 banning order and has also agreed to pay £300 costs.