Solicitor fined for misleading website
A solicitor has been fined £10,000 and barred from working as a sole practitioner for allowing a misleading website to appear online falsely suggesting he ran an award-winning multi-national firm and failing to take it down when asked.
The site claimed the firm was “award-winning”, had offices in London, and Cochin, India, as well as associate offices in the US, Europe and elsewhere in India. It spoke of “lawyers” when he was the only individual mentioned in the authorisation application.
Finding all allegations against Mr Poothavelil proved, the tribunal said he was “entirely culpable” for his conduct, had planned his actions, and had been motivated by a desire to grow his firm.
Despite being told by the Solicitors Regulation Authority the website was likely to mislead the public, he had initially failed to take any action and then his action was insufficient. He had damaged the reputation of the profession.
It continued that his misconduct was “deliberate and calculated”.
(Source – Legal Futures website)