…and another is struck off for wife’s extreme typing fees

A solicitor who charged up to £133 an hour for typing done at home by his wife has been struck off.

The hearing was told how his exorbitant fees reduced legacies charities received from estates he handled.

However Carol Watkins, the wife of disgraced solicitor Kenneth Watkins of Weybridge, Surrey, defended the charges for her labour.

“I am not just the secretary, I am a paralegal. I am not going to be rubbished as just a silly old secretary. In the job I have now I have law graduates working under me.”

Mrs Watkins said she and her husband were often “remiss” at making file notes on all the work done.

Asked by Andrew Hopper, solicitor for the Law Society, if she could justify the billing of 10 hours work for 54 pages of typing, she replied: “Perhaps because I undertake other work I am not the world’s best typist. I do about 35 wpm.”

The hearing heard how Mr Watkins charged nearly £7,000 in costs for one estate, including £210 an hour for five hours attending a funeral and a farewell drink in a local pub, reducing the legacy which was left to a Canadian charity.

Hopper said the charge should have been less than £2,000.

Peter Cadman, representing Mr Watkins, said there had been no complaints against Watkins from any of his former clients.

After the case Cadman said “The evidence doesn’t justify the decision. Mr Watkins will be appealing.”