Ex-Hogan Lovells partner jailed for three years over £1.27m fraud

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  • Is it fair that this man should get three years for a pre-meditated 3-year fraud totalling over a million pounds, whilst many of those involved in the spur-of-the-moment London riots received 2 year sentences for handling low-value stolen goods (e.g. primark t-shirts and blu-ray players)?
    One rule for the rich.

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  • Yes I fully agree it should have been a much longer sentence. Lets hope that he does actually serve three years.

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  • Anonymous 1128, you're clearly a commie. I don’t know about you, but I would feel a lot safe with a city full of Grierson’s, as apposed to a city full of rioting thugs.

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  • no one was actually hurt, so a fair sentence

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  • So three years in jail but netting £1.2m (tax free) from the firm. An average of £400k per year....Gross that up with tax and it beats his salary...

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  • Presumably he had to steal the money so that his wife wouldn't notice how much he was spending on the mysterious "Lebanese woman."
    There must be a moral in this.

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  • Thank goodness he was given a nice lenient sentence for swindling his colleagues out of vast sums of money.
    Only a hateful communist would think he deserved anything more severe for his utterly dishonest thieving.

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  • @ 12:03
    A: doesn't have a stake in society
    B: has a £1m equity stake in Hogan Lovells
    A & B decide to loot. Who should the courts come down hard on, assuming they stole goods to the same value (even though on the facts, there's a massive disparity)?
    However, the public policy response is:
    A: emergency through-the-night courts to mete out OTT sentences
    B: an impotent (and soon to be defunct) SFO doing nothing & sympathetic courts giving a lenient sentence

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  • There can't be many roles outside Law Firm Partner where you could make false claims at that level for so long before anyone noticed. If the FD is still the same, hope he has his story well rehearsed.

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  • i actually agree with comment no.1 one and i am not a commie. Without knowing anything beyond what i've read about the case in the press solicitors command a great deal of public trust. As officers of the court and whether one does criminal, civil, contentious or non-contentious work the penalty should be heavy for such dishonesty. After all, although most of the time it does not seem it to those in the profession, solicitors and barristers enjoy a great deal more direct and indirect power than the everyday man in the street

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  • @John Smith | 30-May-2012 12:03 pm
    As far as one can tell we already do have a City 'full of Griersons', it's just we have only exposed so very few of them so far.
    Moreover, what is fiddling travel expenses compared to the great 'thefts' on the market carried out everyday by investment bankers and fund managers tipping each other off and sharing information only with a select few to distort the market in their favour? Grierson is small fry compared to them and the billions involved. Let's get our priorities right.

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  • He was clearly ill and resorted to desperate measures.He will serve half his sentence and the remainder will be suspended but what life has he when he comes out?

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  • @anonymous 30-May-2012 11:28 am "one rule for the rich"
    I dealt with a sad case where a salesman accidentally invoiced a large company for orders it hadn't received. The company evidently didn't check and paid up. This salesman's employers (unaware of any fraud or mistake) congratulated the salesman on his fine sales figures. Swelled by this praise (and contribution towards meeting his target for annual bonus) the salesman invoiced the same company for more goods it hadn't received. This went on for a few years until discovered. The salesman was prosecuted and his employers refunded the customer (some of) the money.
    The salesman himself "benefitted" from the fraud by about £6k per year (as it caused him to meet his modest sales bonus target).
    Although his total fraud was greater in value (£4million or so- of which he indirectly received no more than £20k) and he admitted his wrongdoing as soon as he was caught, he was jailed for 6 years. 6 years in return for a pat on the back at work and a helping hand towards meeting his sales targets. Sad eh?

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  • At least some of the money went to a good cause, as he 'had spent over £600,000 of the stolen money pursuing a Lebanese woman he had fallen in love with in New York'.
    A fool and his (firm's) money are soon parted.

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  • A most bizarre case. He clearly was a very talented lawyer so this all looks a bit tragic, my thoughts are with his poor family. It seems his sense of honesty was lost in the vain pursuit of an unrequited love that turned out to be very expensive. If this mysterious Lebanese woman needed half a million each year to be wooed clearly the suitor wasn't very suitable. Is he married? Ugh. Mortifyingly desperate.
    Previous comparisons to theft crimes during the London riots are idiotic. That situation was totally different and occurred with a bundle of other crimes such as assault, battery and criminal damage. But, lawyers are in a fiduciary relationship with their clients, creating greater obligations and a more pressing need for honesty than the average person. I would have given him a longer sentence.

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  • It's a bit ridiculous to compare this with riot sentences and make the unsubstantiated claim of 'one rule for the rish and one for the poor'.
    Firstly, if Grierson had gone out and joined in the riots I'm sure he would have received an equivalent sentence to the other people involved.
    Secondly, the riots created terror throughout London and led to several deaths - things that were taken into account in the sentences handed down.
    Thirdly, it is arguable that the impact of a jail term for someone in Grierson's position will generally be far geater than the majority of those convicted in the riots. A dishonestly in employment/fraud offence closes a lot more doors than a conviction for violence.
    (also, he did return all the money)

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  • Please can we stop with all this 'he was sick' and 'his life will be ruined once he gets out'. This man's only ailment was that he was sick of self-love and addled by the bought affection of his Lebanese bit on the side. Why would one assume that this man is going to endure genuine hardship once he gets out the can in a year and a half? He's 26 years PQE and has been an equity partner for more than a decade (earning a 30x multiple of national mean earnings every year): I think it's safe to say he'll live a comfortable life even if he never works again. Instead spare a thought for all those who were convicted on trumped-up charges in protest/riot scenarios - and who'll never work again due to the CRB system.

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  • Gierson paid pack GBP 1 million, reported by The Lawyer a couàple of years back. It always seemed to me that he took advances on partnership payouts because he was overrloaded with the Lehman Brothers BK, where - you might recall - he was able to defend the rights of former LEH staff.
    Note that the Lebanese lady isn'ty named; I have stood in court and heard top lawyers knowingly perjure themseves.

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  • I am the lebanese woman now single, only rich lawyers please contact me.

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  • as my former boss used to say, in cases like this there are usually slow horses or fast women involved.
    He was lucky to draw that judge - many of what the judge appears to have regarded as mitigating factors would be regarded by many others as aggravating.

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  • "Mentally ill man steals £1.27m and pays it all back. Loses his job, wife and reputation. Gets three years".
    Injustice! 50 years! Hang him! Free all the rioters!

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  • He's got 3 years, half of which was suspended.
    That means he'll be eligible for release after one third of his actual sentence, i.e. after just six months!
    In any case, one would have thought that £700k a year would have been enough to finance the hookers and the Lady from Lebanon without having to dip into the petty cash.

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  • This is a sad case but no-one has mentioned the 3500 chargeable hours year. Working under that pressure is bound to lead to distortions in behaviour. A lesson for many perhaps - the greed element is not the theft but the pressure of City firms to earn more and more, sums that would have been regarded as ridiculous onlyta few years ago. He was apparently the model of what a senior partner should be!

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  • 3500 billable hours a year. Small wonder his life fell apart.

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  • Rural Bliss | 30-May-2012 5:37 pm - I make about £850,000 p.a. and it's more than enough to cover all pursuits of that nature.

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  • What a sad situation! Will his lady be waiting for him? He will at least be granted 3yrs of reflection (or half???) and free psychiatric help. No prostitutes will be sneaking into HMP.

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  • What a sad story. I say that as someone who knows the defendant well. If the object of the prosecution process is to exact retribution, it has surely achieved that. He is a sick man, both physically and mentally and will most likely never have a responsible job again. As a complete driven workaholic dedicated to the litigation process, that is probably the greatest punishment that he could endure. I suspect that the 6 months inside will be a walk in the park compared to the years afterwards.

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  • How is Grierson any better than the young woman who decided to go and loot from Currys (her employers) in her uniform during the riots? Both employees stole from their respective employers whilst in work garb. At least the ex-Currys employee had the decency to do her thieving under cover of darkness.
    The only difference is that Grierson thought that the normal rules regarding stealing from his employers were suspended for four years rather than four nights.
    In her defence, the young woman was not standing in judgement of her colleagues on disciplinary committees whilst on the rob, chowing down in the partner dining room (until one enlightened soul sussed that the hand of Grierson that betrayeth him was with him at the table) and billing 3,500 hours divvying-up Madoff's estate.
    Like so many in the City, Grierson had a looter mentality - so why shouldn't the punishment fit the crime?

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  • This is a sad case (and I would not have said that several weeks ago when I knew less of the detail behind it all). On the face of it he is not deserving of sympathy and the sentence seems light. However, the Court will have had far more information before it than any of us do. Depressive illnesses cause a loss of inhibition and risk-taking. I suspect he always knew - as a talented lawyer - that the game would be up at some point and that part of him wanted that to happen. He is plainly ruined and a broken man. A bit of compassion wouldn't be a bad thing.

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  • I agree with Anonymous | 30-May-2012 4:55 pm. If he truly has bipolar disorder then he needs psychiatric help and medication, not prison. I suspect those who feel otherwise know nothing of the illness.

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  • How is it possible to bill roughly 70 hours a week for an entire year, making a reasonable allowance for non-billable time each day?

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  • I see from the above comments that the anti-capitalist brigade have mobilised! Yawn Yawn………. change the record Swampy

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  • The key difference between Mr Grierson and the rioters is that he could afford a good lawyer. I also doubt whether he was really mentally ill - how coud someone who was bipolar bill 3500 chargeable hours? That is someone who is permanently manic. OCD or addictive personality or functioning psychopath perhaps. I have little sympathy for this chap - his wife clearly put up with being a lower priority than his career in exchange for lifestyle and for the sake of the kids (that he must never have seen a/way). S/one will want to hire him s/where and s/one as wealthy as that will pick up a new woman in no time. I am sure that he will re-appear as a GC s/where and will be a father again in a couple of years.

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  • Capitalism is a economic system. Stealing is dishonest. The two are not the same, and condemning people like Grierson is not an indicator of left wing views - just strong moral principle.

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  • Committ a crime pay the price! It just goes to show he has been claimed to be excellant lawyer and now all that hard work getting there just gone with reputation in tatters. I know i am studying to become a lawyer and if i ever get the chance to work for a big firm i would never throw it away.

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  • His proven dishonesty makes his 3500 chargeable hours appear to be unlikely to have been honestly recorded. His perceptions of right and wrong were distorted, so his integrity in recording the time must be in issue. I don't believe anyone who says they do that much. I encountered another rogue partner claiming 3000 hours and it was ultimately proven to have been exaggerated by dodgy dumping of time on files. Experience shows that rogue partners rarely confine their dishonesty to a single type of activity.

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  • anonymous 30 may...soo how many of the rioters had bipolar disorder and were depressed?
    this thing is getting down to people being prejudiced against a rich guy with problems, never mind the fact he had mental disorders :P

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  • I feel sorry for him, for the same reasons as all the other more compassionate/human commenters here. (Before anyone says anything else, I also feel sorry for the supposed "rioters" who got put in prison for wandering off with a bottle of water and such-like). I am flabbergasted that people are being so callous about a diagnosed mental illness as well.

    What good is putting him in prison at all going to do? He's not dangerous, and he's highly unlikely to re-offend. And there is no real need for a deterrent sentence, as the loss of reputation and (relative) financial ruin is probably enough of a deterrent to stop other (non-mentally-ill) law firm partners from doing the same.

    The one thing his prison sentence will do is cost the taxpayer a fair amount of money, of course... isn't it about £35k a year to keep someone in prison?

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