Davenport Lyons says SDT action on file-sharing is 'totally unjustified'

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  • This opens a can of worms. If one acts on client instructions which are at the same time profitable for the firm, that is business in the real world, but if the SDT do not like it you risk getting struck off.
    Is that proportionate!!
    Bearing in mind ABSs are going to be the reality albeit delayed slightly from the 6th October due to the fact ironically interalia, the preferred Law Society option for appeals is the SDT rather than the 1st Tier and outcome focused regulation will come into force on the 6th we certainly will have fun and games.

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  • I think it's fair enough for David Gore and Brian Miller to appeal this finding. A letter accusing someone of wrongdoing on their home computer is not "intimidation" - people need to grow up a bit.

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  • Maybe Davenport Lyons should keep quite and save their arguments for the appeal. Is it any wonder that the public have lost respect for solicitors’ self-regulation if the profession feels that it can be disrespectful of actions brought and decided in the proper manner. Do Davenport Lyons make similar comments regarding court decisions they don’t agree with, or do they save their arguments for the appeal and let the appellate body decide?

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  • Go for it Davenport Lyons. Everyone is supporting you. However why not make your letters public? Let us all decide.

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  • I have refused to act in accordance with client instructions (in a not too dissimilar matter (trade mark infringement claim)) because, I understood that the client’s instructions exposed my firm to liability and myself to risks of professional misconduct. The client wasn’t pleased with my resistance to its instructions, and threatened to use more “effective lawyers” (not Davenport Lyons, but another firm not a million miles away from Davenport Lyons), however, the client was eventually persuaded by me to take a less aggressive approach and not only did they (I, in fact) achieve the desired objective, the client also now has a healthy and profitable relationship with the alleged infringer. As a professional advisor, I recognise the need to undertake an objective assessment and, often, to temper a client’s initial pique: that is the value that I add to a client’s business, even if the client does not appreciate a contrary view to its own. Any angry clients can (and do) send threatening letters and adopt an aggressive approach to enforcement of rights, they don’t need a good lawyer to do that and if a lawyer does do that on behalf of client without considering and advising upon risks and alternative approaches, then the lawyer adds little more than their firm’s headed note paper (and the rapidly eroding (because of firms like Davenport Lyons (and they are not, by any means alone)), impact that a “solicitor’s letter” is perceived to have). Seems simple to me, but perhaps I have a better grasp on the use of the words “professional” and “standards” when used both independently and together?

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  • Maybe they should write a threatening letter to the SDT. I'm sure that'll sort things out.

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  • Just because another lawyer took a softer approach in similar circumstances and got some success with that softer approach is entirely irrelevant to the main point, which is that this is a pretty disgraceful state of affairs for our profession when solicitors acting in their client's interests get punished like this.
    The SRA & SDT come out of this smelling a whole lot worse than DL, that's for sure.

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  • Anonymous 12:20: not softer, less aggressive and more effective. Good lawyers do not usually slavishly implement client instructions, good lawyers apply their skills and training to any given situation (try being on the receiving end of an obtusely aggressive letter of claim). Your “main point” (and its relevance) is founded on the consequences of the acts of the Davenport Lyons (at the time) lawyers (not those of its client) and whether or not those acts amount to professional misconduct, you do not appear to appreciate the application of relevancy nor the profession’s reaction to the SRA’s and the SDT’s position: and that seems entirely simple to me.

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  • I can see from the comments here so far that no-one appears to have the faintest idea how the technology actually works. Would you like to be accused of something, sent a legal letter claiming as much, and threatened with legal action if money is not paid? By all means pursue those breaking the law - but you had better be damned sure that the grounds on which you are basing the allegations are concrete (because in this case they were not).

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  • Ah, I love the line "the partners had simply been following the instructions of clients". And some of the comments below back it up. It's amazing how so many people offer the "I was just following orders" line to justify their actions. Are we saying that lawyers must bow down to the client regardless? Nonsense.

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