20 January 2018

New York attorney Soma Sengupta disbarred for charges, including dishonesty

11 March 2016

New York lawyer Soma Sengupta, who was Called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2008, has been ordered to be disbarred by an independent disciplinary tribunal.

The disbarment relates to convictions in the State of New York, USA of one felony and two misdemeanours and Ms Sengupta's subsequent disbarment from the New York Bar.

The US convictions related to possessing forged documents, filing attorney registration forms with false information and an associated conspiracy charge.

The forged documents were letters of reference, which made false statements about her experience in New York (including stating she was an Assistant District Attorney, when she was actually a paralegal).

The forged documents and false information were used by Ms Sengupta to obtain pupillage in 2008.

The BSB investigation in 2009 led to criminal charges in New York. In December 2014, the Tribunal decided to adjourn the local proceedings, whilst Ms Sengupta pursued avenues of appeal in New York.

BSB Director of Professional Conduct Sara Jagger said: "The lengths that Ms Sengupta went to, to embellish her experience and qualifications are extraordinary. Her elaborate dishonesty is clearly incompatible with membership of the Bar.

"Ms Sengupta never became a registered barrister in England and Wales because her pupillage was suspended. However, the Tribunal's decision to order disbarment is right because honesty and integrity of barristers are essential to public confidence in the profession.

"We acknowledge the matter has taken some time to conclude. However, the extent of similar dishonest conduct in the United States meant there were further hearings to be concluded there. A tribunal judge rightly ordered that proceedings in England and Wales should be put on hold awaiting the outcome of the proceedings in the USA. It was important to allow those hearings to come to a resolution so that the Disciplinary Tribunal were aware of all the circumstances."

ENDS

Notes to editors

About Soma Sengupta

Ms Soma Sengupta was Called to the Bar by Middle Temple in July 2008.

About the Bar Standards Board

Our mission is to regulate the Bar so as to promote high standards of practice and safeguard clients and the public interest. For more information about what we do visit: http://bit.ly/1gwui8t

About disciplinary tribunals

The appointment, operation, and decisions (including sentencing) of disciplinary tribunal panels are performed by the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service (BTAS). BTAS is run independently of the Bar Standards Board - the barristers' regulator - which is responsible for bringing charges of professional misconduct against barristers. These charges are then adjudicated on by BTAS' tribunal panels.

Contact: For all media enquiries call: 0207 611 1452 or email press@barstandardsboard.org.uk