A former Cooley associate has been barred from the profession by U.K. regulator the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), after being handed a prison sentence for fraud.
Joshua Brien, who was employed in Cooley’s firm’s London office from July 2017 to November 2019, was convicted last year of three counts of fraud by abuse of position and one count of dishonestly making false representations to make gains for himself.
He was convicted at Southwark Crown Court in August 2021 and sentenced to an immediate custodial sentence of seven years and six months imprisonment, according to the SRA filing.
According to the SRA judgment, published in August, Brien’s criminal offenses make it “undesirable for him to be involved in a legal practice”.
As a result, the SRA has barred him from the profession, with him unable to be employed or remunerated as a solicitor, in connection with any solicitors practice or have any interest in a recognised body, without the regulator’s prior written permission.
Brien was also ordered to pay £600 to cover the SRA’s costs.
Earlier in July the SRA overhauled its fining powers when it comes to tackling misconduct in the legal industry, increasing the maximum fine it can impose on solicitors, traditional firms and its employees to £25,000. Previously the maximum was £2,000.
Some have already been subject to the increased powers. In recent weeks, former employees at both Penningtons Manches Cooper and Slater and Gordon were issued penalties, with one being fined and the other barred from the profession.
Cooley had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.