City Law closed down following SRA intervention

A City-based firm that was locked out of its offices by its landlord earlier this summer has been closed following an SRA intervention.

City Law, which is run by sole partner Paul Fallon, who employs five associates, was closed on 17 October following the SRA’s decision to intervene. James Dunn, a partner in Devonshires Solicitors’ litigation team, has been appointed as the intervening agent. No decision has yet been taken on whether to refer Fallon to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

An intervention is designed to protect clients’ interest and money. The process results in lawyers’ authorisation to practise being revoked and practice money and client papers being transferred to the SRA.

According to the SRA website, the regulatory body’s committee was satisfied that in the case of City Law grounds for intervention existed because Fallon, among other things, failed to comply with SRA Code of Conduct 2011 outcomes 7.2 (‘you have effective systems and controls in place to achieve and comply with all the principles, rules and outcomes and other requirements of the handbook, where applicable’) and 10.6 (‘you co-operate fully with the SRA and the Legal Ombudsman at all times including in relation to any investigation about a claim for redress against you’).

In a statement, an SRA spokesperson said: “An intervention means the SRA has closed a firm with immediate effect. We’ll stop the firm from operating, take possession of all documents and papers held by the firm, including clients’ papers, and take possession of all money held by the firm, including clients’ money. We’re not responsible towards employees or trade creditors of firms that we have intervened in.

“Reason for intervention can be that we suspect dishonesty, a recognised sole practitioner has been made bankrupt, a recognised sole practitioner has been sent to prison, a recognised sole practitioner has been struck off the Roll for other reasons, the practice has been abandoned, or there have been serious breaches of the accounts rules.”

Click here and here for more detail on the SRA’s decision.

Fallon’s firm, which was established in 2006 and focused on financial services, regulatory and commercial disputes and strategic acquisitions, was locked out of its offices in the summer by its landlord after failing to pay rent on time (16 August 2012).

A spokesperson for City Law’s landlords, Cornerstone City Developments and Northumberland City Developments, said at the time: “The landlord made strenuous efforts to engage Paul Fallon concerning arrears of rent and promises to pay were not complied with.”

Fallon began his career at SNR Denton legacy firm Denton Wilde Sapte in 1985 before moving to Hogan Lovells legacy firm Durrant Piesse in 1987. He joined Davies Arnold Cooper in 1995 before moving to Reed Smith in 1999. He founded City Law in February 2006.

Fallon could not be reached for comment.