Moonlighter launches unfair dismissal claim

A SOLICITOR who was sacked from his firm after seeking and then following advice from the Law Society on how to “moonlight” is bringing a claim of unfair dismissal against a West London firm of solicitors.

Legal aid lawyer Vincent McGrath was dismissed by Ealing high street firm Elliots Bond & Banbury when it discovered he had placed adverts in the local press for a sideline business giving legal advice to clients at their own homes in the evenings.

The firm claimed McGrath, who had worked at the firm for 10 years, had breached the terms of an oral contract of employment by moonlighting and by using its photocopier for the purposes of his own business venture.

But McGrath, now employed at Shepherds Bush solicitors Arora Lodhi Heath, claims he was targeting a different client base, offering advice only and did not in any case succeed as nobody answered the advert.

He also claimed he had sought and followed ethical advice from the Law Society before he embarked on his bid to supplement his basic £10,000 a year salary.

Elliots Bond & Banbury senior partner Peter Reinold said of McGrath: “He was summarily dismissed from this firm for gross misconduct and breach of trust. Such action was not taken lightly.

“The reasons were carefully considered and we took counsel's advice on the issue and acted in accordance with such advice.”

The Law Society would not confirm to The Lawyer whether it had or had not given McGrath advice on moonlighting.

McGrath has lodged his claim with North London Industrial Tribunal.