Wednesday 12 December 2018

Solicitor is warned she is 'in a last-chance saloon'

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A solicitor with 18 findings of misconduct on her record has been told by a tribunal she is "in a last-chance saloon".

The warning came as the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal censured Aisling Maloney and ordered her to pay €6,000 to the Solicitors Compensation Fund. She will also have to pay €4,000 towards the legal costs of the Law Society.

The punishment handed down yesterday relates to 10 counts of professional misconduct admitted by the solicitor at a hearing earlier this year.

These include counts of failing to reply to complainants and failing to reply to Law Society correspondence.

Ms Maloney, of AM Maloney & Co Solicitors in Tullamore, Co Offaly, also admitted failing to attend meetings called by the society's complaints and client relations section, despite a requirement to do so.

Solicitor David Irwin, for the Law Society, said there had been 18 findings of misconduct against Ms Maloney since 2012. He said the society was seeking a sanction where Ms Maloney would be issued with a limited practising certificate and would have to be employed and supervised by a solicitor with no less than 10 years' standing.

Spared

Chairperson Fiona Twomey said the case was "very serious", but Ms Maloney was spared the sanction sought by the society. "We are reminding you this is a last-chance saloon," said Ms Twomey.

Her co-operation and the fact she had stopped taking on new conveyance work and was closing out all of her conveyance files were taken into account.

This was being done with the assistance and direction of Damien Maguire, a consultant solicitor. Mr Maguire said he believed Ms Maloney's firm was viable, efficiently run as a small court practice and he saw no reason why she should be supervised in court work.

It was the second time in recent weeks Ms Maloney was before the tribunal.

A separate panel is considering allegations she failed to properly supervise Alan Lloyd, an inexperienced solicitor who advised clients despite not having the necessary practising certificate.

Gardaí fear more than 20 criminal cases could be "tainted" by Mr Lloyd's actions.

Ms Maloney vehemently denies misconduct in that case. A finding is expected in January.

Irish Independent

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