Top-25 firm employee disciplined for naming client on Facebook



An employee with top-25 firm DAC Beachcroft has been barred from the profession after naming a client on a Facebook post.

Keith Howell, a litigation executive with the firm for more than four years, also wrote a second post commenting on a case being conducted for that client.

A decision notice published today by the Solicitors Regulation Authority also states that Howell, who worked in the firm’s Manchester office, had spent excessive time dealing with clients’ matters and recording billable time in excess of what was reasonable.

He was found by the regulator to have breached client confidentiality, failed to act in clients’ best interests and failed to behave in a way that maintains public trust in him and the profession.

As a non-solicitor, Howell was made subject to a section 43 order which prevents him working for any regulated firm or entity without first obtaining SRA permission.

The regulator has been increasingly faced with disciplinary issues relating to social media use in recent years. In June this year, a junior solicitor was fined £10,000 by the SDT after receiving a conviction for sending malicious Facebook messages to a woman.

A criminal defence solicitor was fined £25,000 by the tribunal in August 2017 after posting anti-Semitic messages on the same platform.

Barristers have also been warned by their regulator the Bar Standards Board they could face disciplinary action if they take part in ‘heated’ internet debates or post ‘distasteful’ comments online.



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