Attempt To Cover Up Mistake Leads To Paralegal Ban
Paralegal, Amy Hannah Whiting, has been banned from working in law firms after attempting to cover up a mistake in not sending an updated plan to the buyer’s solicitor.
In January 2019, following the client providing a plan of a new-build property that included a garage, a paralegal working for a Leeds based firm, Ms Whiting forwarded on the plan to the buyer’s solicitor. However, an updated plan sent to Ms Whiting before exchange of contracts, which did not include a garage, was not forwarded on to the buyer’s solicitor and the exchange of contracts took place on the basis on the original plan, which included the garage.
On discovering the mistake, Ms Whiting, instead of admitting the mistake, attempted to cover it up by stating that she had indeed sent the revised plan and created a backdated letter to the buyer’s solicitor which purported to enclose the updated plan. As any person working in the legal industry will know, attempts to cover up mistakes are seen as major acts of dishonesty.
Following an internal investigation by Blacks, a written warning was given to Ms Whiting and the issue was reported to the SRA.
Ms Whiting admitted to the misconduct and stated that “she had been under a lot of pressure due to volume of work and was dealing with very difficult personal circumstances.” The SRA stated that, in making order, they had considered her “significance experience working with firms of solicitors and there have been no other concerns about her professional conduct.”
Despite Blacks allowing Ms Whiting to remain in her position whilst offering additional support, Ms Whiting agreed that a section 43 order was appropriate due to her conduct which made “it undesirable for her to be involved in a legal practise because it shows that she has been dishonest and may mislead her clients.”