Ban for City associate who inflated exam grades on CV
A solicitor who hoped to become a ‘successful and dynamic’ banking lawyer at global firm DLA Piper has been struck off for inflating her academic achievements and claiming to have received high marks in subjects she did not study.
In a judgment published this week, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) said Tania Ruby Bains’s ‘deliberate, calculated and repeated’ embellishment of her credentials on her CV and on a training contract application were dishonest. She was ordered to pay £6,000 in costs.
Bains, born in 1986 and admitted to the roll in 2015, trained with national firm Weightmans in 2013 before joining DLA Piper as an associate in 2015. However, her application for a training contract at Weightmans, and the CV she sent to DLA Piper via a recruitment agency, contained false and misleading information.
According to the SDT, in her application for the training contract Bains claimed to have qualifications in six areas of law which she had not studied and inflated her grades in all but one of the subjects she did study. In her application to join DLA Piper she copied lines from the CV of two solicitors and claimed to have carried out work that was actually done by a Weightmans partner.
Giving evidence she said the embellishment was down to an ‘honest mistake’ and that she was trying to remember off-hand what her grades were in each subject she studied.
However, the SDT said it was ‘not plausible’ that Bains would guess that all of her grades (except one) would be higher than the actual grades she had achieved. The tribunal added: ‘There were so many inaccuracies in her application, all of which made her appear to be better academically than she actually was.’ The tribunal said that it considered imposing a suspension but was not confident that the conduct would not be repeated.
According to the judgments, Weightmans said that after Bains left the firm it found information on its IT systems and reported its concerns to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). DLA Piper also reported concerns to the SRA after becoming aware of Weightmans’ discovery.
A DLA Piper spokesperson said: 'Ms Bains left our firm in February 2016, a few months after she joined, following an internal investigation into this matter. Whilst regrettable for the individual concerned, we fully respect the decision of the SDT.’
A Weightmans spokesperson said: 'In line with our values of diligence and integrity, and in compliance with our regulatory obligations, we disclosed concerns regarding Bains to the SRA. The hearing and outcome remain a matter for the SRA to comment further.'