Monday, April 30, 2012

£300K client fund loss ? Law firm Ross Harper ceases trading as Law Society declares ‘warning shot’ to GBA membership, dissent ‘a success’

THE Law Society of Scotland have today confirmed the complete closure of Glasgow law firm Ross Harper after reports were featured in the media of politics at play and sizeable financial inconsistencies in client accounts at the Glasgow based law firm, who were raided by the Law Society earlier this month over “accounting irregularities” which saw a Law Society controlled Judicial Factor appointed to take charge of the now defunct firm. Coincidentally, just prior to the Law Society's raid, Ross Harper had decided to join the Glasgow Bar Association, who are known to heavily oppose the dictates & policies of what many non Edinburgh solicitors brand the “East coast mafia” of the Law Society’s Edinburgh based Drumsheugh Gardens HQ.

A short announcement from the Law Society of Scotland today reports :

Ross Harper Update - Firm to cease trading

The Judicial Factor appointed to Ross Harper has today announced that the legal firm will cease trading today (Monday 30 April). Any affected clients with questions can contact the Judicial Factor, Henderson Loggie directly on 01382 200 055.

Any solicitors impacted by today's announcement and wishing support or advice can contact the Law Society of Scotland professional practice and support team on 0131 226 7411.

Lorna Jack, chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland, said: "Ross Harper has been operating for some 50 years and is one of Scotland’s best known legal firms. The decision by the judicial factor to cease the firm’s trading therefore marks the end of an era within the Scottish legal profession.

"It is however an important part of our role to protect client interests and seek the appointment of a judicial factor whenever we have concerns that client money is missing or, because the accounting records are so poor, we cannot tell if client funds are missing. This was why was applied to the Court of Session for the appointment of a factor in the case of Ross Harper."

The Scottish Legal Aid Board’s statistics for 2010-2011 reveal that Ross Harper Solicitors had been paid the sixth highest amount of taxpayer funded legal aid criminal fees at a whopping £1.3m. Two years before, Ross Harper were paid around £1.5m and £1.7m in legal aid fees.

Media reports suggest all employees of Ross Harper have lost their jobs, and all partners practising certificates remain suspended. A discussion of the scandal and accusations relating to goings on at the firm featured in the comments section of Scottish Law Reporter’s previous report of the Ross Harper closure, which can be viewed HERE

A legal source tonight accused the Law Society of “playing a game of dirty tricks against law firms who disobey the society’s demands”. The source identified another law firm based in Glasgow who are also now under investigation for alleged “accounting irregularities”, again by coincidence, a law firm which also appears to have disagreements with policy from the Law Society’s Edinburgh Drumsheugh Gardens HQ.

Earlier this month a Law Society insider told journalists for Scottish Law Reporter there were rumours of a THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND POUND deficit in the Ross Harper client accounts, however no one from the Law Society would officially confirm or deny the figures.


Anonymous said...

And yet not a peep out of the mainstream media about what in anyone's book is a BIG STORY!

Well Done Scottish Law Reporter.

Clearly this is more about Law Society politics than simple dishonesty, with the solicitors of Glasgow firm Ross Harper left to carry the can - normally it's the client!

Anonymous said...

No question about it now,the gloves are off with those Edinburgh mob.

Next up for a raid?

Anonymous said...

I hope all the partners are happy that they have ruined a well known business firm!! Also even decent and jonest staff have now to go and look for new jobs..... Makes me sick to my stomache.

I hope all the partners get what they deserve.

Anonymous said...

This is just the start,its the tip of the iceberg,they are coming to get you through accounting.

Anonymous said...

Remember the Judicial Factor takes no decisions without Law Society consent.

The Law Society wanted Ross Harper shut down and this is exactly what happened.

Anonymous said...

If Ross Harper screwed their clients its almost a cert they did same to Legal Aid..

Anonymous said...

Well it cannot be not one member of staff knew what was going on I just don't believe it a all.All will become clearer when it is realised who ends up where and saving their skins.

Anonymous said...

NO denials I see so its all true.Who is next on the LSS chopping block?

Anonymous said...

Henderson Loggie were given a mission to shut RH down for good hence the mission accomplished dinner at the weekend.

Anonymous said...

Ah mutiny at the Law Society, let me see, law firms join the Glasgow Bar Association and hey presto, now these firms are screwing clients bank accounts, a causal link to protect the Law Society High Command. So the Law Society want to protect the firms clients. So my advice to clients, go to any law firm, ask them to sue Ross Harpers for damages, all lawyers including the Law Society are insured by Royal Sun Alliance so your damages will be £0.00 if you can get legal representation in the first place.

It takes a faction to break away from the Law Society before they revoke practicing certificates. Look at the Penman’s O’Donnells, Lockharts, has the Law Society protected their clients? Never in a thousand years. No Lorna Jack the Law Society hate clients, so if Ross Harpers have had fingers in clients accounts we can be sure the Master Policy or Guarantee Fund will guarantee they remain penniless. I have no love of Ross Harpers (or any law firm) for what they did to my family but the Law Society are 100% worse because they only deal with lawyers who disobey the Law Society High Command.

Trust no lawyer. They are all the same.

Anonymous said...

This incident lends support to the idea that the Law Society of Scotland have too much power and will use the threat of closure against those solicitors who don't play with their corrupt ball?

Was the decision to shut down Ross Harper linked to the ongoing fued between the Law Society of Scotland and the Glasgow Bar Association?

Remember there was recently a call 'foul' by the GBA against the Law Society of Scotland over their 'fingers in the till fiasco' involving indiscreet negotiations with cherry-picked lawyers over setting up a newco to strip the SLAB of easy cash?

Did Ross Harper protest too loud?

Remember, the Law Society of Scotland have a record of every Scottish lawyers finances?

If it is true that large numbers of Scottish Lawyers have been stealing from their clients for years, the Law Society know this but protect them from prosecution, so as they can hold them in obeyance to do the Law Society of Scotland's dirty favours instead of being turned-over to the prosecuting authorities?

Who will the Law Society of Scotland turn-in next at the risk of a lawyer backlash over their dishonest accounts checking and protection system?

Anonymous said...

What about the poor student that was offered funding through their llb and a guaranteed traineeship with Ross Harper after their heavily glossed up search for the next "Legal Eagle" in the Scottish Sun? Back to Student Loans I guess. What a disgrace.

Anonymous said...

I was a client of Ross Harper in a complicated divorce action. My Solicitor and the Family team were fantastic, and supportive, i truly hope they are all o.k. However i lodged a complaint about their accountancy long before they ceased trading, with the Law society, as i am sure did many others.

Anonymous said...

I have only recently realised this news. I too was represented by Ross Harper in an employment tribunal. Every meeting I had was with the very convincing Jim Price, until the day before the hearing when I was introduced to two young girls announcing he was sick and they were representing me. A complete joke!! I am personally delighted his licence has been suspended.. My case was lost and they charged me nearly 20,000. I requested time and time again they review my account and was bullied into paying it up. I for one will be speaking to Henderson Logie very very soon.