Ex-lawyer forced to resign after conviction

A former solicitor who was struck from the roll has resigned as company secretary of legal services provider Willmakers of Distinction.

Nicholas Butcher was convicted in 1998 on charges of false accounting, theft and conspiracy to defraud, following the theft of £50,000 from client bank accounts. He was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment, declared bankrupt and struck off the roll.

Last month, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) refused the Lincolnshire-based will-making company a consumer credit licence because of Butcher’s criminal convictions. Director for consumer regulation enforcement Christine Wade said: “The company is unfit to provide credit to consumers.”

Willmakers director and company founder David Nash hit back at the OFT, describing the decision as “absolutely appalling”. He told The Lawyer: “I have no hesitation trusting [Butcher] with money.”

However, during a meeting last Tuesday, Brian McMillan, the director-general of self-regulatory body the Society of Will Writers, called for Butcher’s resignation. In the aftermath of the resignation, McMillan told The Lawyer: “Provided the company maintains its professional indemnity insurance and behaves with propriety, it can stay in the society.”

The Society of Will Writers is now examining ways of checking the backgrounds and credentials of prospective members.