A former Reed Smith and legacy Denton Wilde Sapte solicitor has been struck off and ordered to pay £160,000 costs for spending client money which should have been paid to counsel.
City Law Financial founder Paul Fallon was struck off this week after ten allegations were proven against him, ten involving dishonesty.
The Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) found that the lawyer had made false statements about the settlement of fees, appeared on behalf of clients in proceedings in the High Court when he was not qualified to do so and practised without a valid certificate.
He was also found to have made a false statement about an adverse costs order to a client and spent substantial sums owed to counsel eslewhere.
Fallon had set up City Law, which focused on financial services, regulatory and commercial disputes, in 2006 and employed five associates. However just six years later the SRA stepped in to shut the firm down after finding he had failed to comply with the Code of Conduct on two areas (24 October 2012). The lawyer had already been locked out of his offices earlier in the year by his landlord, who accused him of being in rent arrears.
At the time a spokesperson for Cornerstone City Developments said: “The landlord made strenuous efforts to engage Paul Fallon concerning arrears of rent and promises to pay were not complied with.”
The SRA closed the firm with immediate effect on 17 October 2013 and took possession of all dcouments and papers held by the firm, including clients’ papers and all cash held including clients’ money.
At the time it was not known whether Fallon would be referred to the SDT.
SRA director of legal and enforcement Gordon Ramsay today said: “The allegations found proven against Mr Fallon are numerous, and each on its own would have been very serious. The dishonesty found in this case is wholly unacceptable and, in the SRA’s view, striking off is a wholly appropriate outcome to this matter.”
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 and joined Reed Smith in 1999. He founded City Law in February 2006
He did not attend the hearing to offer any evidence in mitigation but had previously denied all allegations. He now has 21 days to mount an appeal against the ruling.