A solicitor who hid from his firm that he was acting for clients in a personal capacity has been struck off. Michael Lennon, 44, admitted on 15 July 2011, was employed at DPP Law Ltd and while purporting to act on behalf of the firm requested and received money from six clients for legal services. The money was received by bank transfer into his personal account.

SDT sign

Source: Michael Cross

Lennon admitted to all the rule breaches, including the allegation of dishonesty.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal judgment said Lennon failed to open client files using the firm’s systems; that he used the firm’s letterheads without its knowledge or authority; received client money into his own personal account, and represented a client in criminal proceedings without the authority of the firm.

A director at the firm informed the Solicitors Regulation Authority after the firm became aware that Lennon was conducting criminal litigation when he did not have permission to do so.

Striking off Lennon, the tribunal said: ‘[Lennon] was wholly culpable for his misconduct which was extremely serious. The conduct was a breach of the trust the firm placed in him as did his colleagues, and clients.

‘The tribunal determined that the nature of the respondent’s misconduct, including admissions that his conduct was dishonest, was such that the only reasonable and proportionate sanction was to strike the respondent from the roll of the solicitors.’

As part of the agreed outcome, Lennon was also ordered to pay £4,750 in costs.