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Melvich solicitor struck off after forging signature

By Ali Morrison

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A far north solicitor has been struck off for dishonesty after forging her client’s signature on a will.

Natalie Bird (46) appeared before the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal and admitted professional misconduct.

She had drawn up a will for a client in March 2022 but the document wasn't dated.

Natalie Bird has been struck off after a hearing of the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal. Picture: Adobe Stock
Natalie Bird has been struck off after a hearing of the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal. Picture: Adobe Stock

A new will had to be prepared and Bird claimed that her client signed it over a Zoom meeting.

But the tribunal heard that she didn't contact him to arrange such a meeting or send the new document to him for signing.

Bird, of Portskerra, Melvich, was a director of Orkney-based D&H Law.

An internal probe revealed that she had forged her client's signature on the new will while stating in a file that she had been in contact with the client and witnessed him signing the document.

The tribunal accepted that Bird had been under pressure working in a branch office at the time, had shown remorse and gained nothing from her actions.

She told the hearing that she has not worked as a solicitor since. She no longer holds a practising certificate but would like to return to the profession eventually.

Her lawyer argued that Bird should not be struck off, saying she was guilty of a “momentary lapse of reason” and has shown remorse.

But tribunal vice-chairman Kenneth Paterson said: “The principles of honesty and integrity are fundamental to the profession.

“Solicitors undertake a duty throughout their professional lives to conduct their clients’ affairs to their utmost ability and with complete honesty and integrity.

“Clients and colleagues should be able to expect those qualities in every solicitor as a matter of course.

“Solicitors are in a privileged position of trust and must act with utmost propriety.

“Forging a client’s signature would be anathema to all right-thinking solicitors.

“Striking off is the only proper sanction to protect the public and maintain the reputation of the profession.”

Bird grew up in Kent and worked as a barrister in England before “cross qualifying” which allowed her to practise as a solicitor in Scotland.

She started work with D&H Law in 2016 and became a director of the company in 2021.

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