White & Case receive record fine from SDT
International firm White & Case have been fined a record £250,000 for failures over client confidentiality and conflict of interest.
The penalty, issued by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT), is the largest ever issued to a firm by the tribunal and comes after an investigation was carried out by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
A notice published by the SRA confirms that the firm allowed work to take place without steps being taken to prevent a conflict of interest. The firm also confessed to allowing instructions to be accepted without ensuring confidentiality and admitted that these actions were reckless.
It also admitted allowing instructions to be accepted without ensuring information provided by clients was kept confidential. The firm accepted it had acted recklessly in respect of both matters.
The exact nature of the misconduct is yet to be disclosed, with confirmation set to arrive with the publication of the SDT’s judgement in around seven weeks.
David Goldberg was personally fined, paying £50,000 after admitting to a number of allegations including failing to protect client confidentiality and acting where there may have been conflicts of interest.
The SRA were keen to stress that neither Goldberg or the firm acted dishonestly and that there were no allegations of a lack of integrity against either party.
The SRA notice stressed that neither the firm or Goldberg acted dishonestly and that allegations of a lack of integrity were not pursued against either.
A spokesman for the firm said: “While it would not be appropriate to comment until the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has published its judgment, we have been cooperating fully with the SRA and accept the orders which will be made by the SDT. We are committed to upholding the legal industry’s highest standards at all times, in all of the jurisdictions where we operate.”