A Queensland law student who passed himself off as a solicitor on social media had to call a real lawyer when a magistrate found out the truth.
A Queensland law student who masqueraded as a solicitor on social media and in court has found himself before a magistrate for all the wrong reasons.
Jacob Reichman, 22, was fined $1000 on Wednesday after pleading guilty to representing himself as a legal practitioner and engaging in legal practice when he wasn’t entitled to.
The aspiring lawyer was also ordered to pay $1084 in legal costs.
Brisbane Magistrates Court heard that Reichman introduced himself as a solicitor for Gold Coast firm Michelle Porcheron Lawyers during several appearances in Beenleigh Magistrates Court in 2013.
He was actually a second-year law student and a clerk for barrister Chris Rosser. He was at court to seek adjournments for one of Mr Rosser’s clients.
Screen grabs from Reichman’s Facebook, Linked In and Instagram accounts were tendered in court and showed the wannabe solicitor had posted screen shots of himself appearing on television news bulletins under the title “legal representative”.
The Instagram photos were posted with the hashtags #lawyer, #younglawyer and #criminallawyers, Legal Services Commission barrister Sarah Lane said.
The deception was discovered after Reichman sent an email to Beenleigh Magistrates Court that referred to his employer “CK Rosser” in the signature, not Michelle Porcheron.
He told the magistrate it was an error but queries to Mr Rosser revealed the truth and the case was referred to the Legal Services Commission.
Reichman’s lawyer Patricia Kirkman-Scroope said her “remorseful and embarrassed” client had attention deficit disorder and had been “mesmerised” by Mr Rosser, who had praised his “superb capabilities”.
With regards to Reichman’s social media accounts, he had wanted to impress his family and friends, she said.
Magistrate Anne Thacker said it appeared no damage had been done to Mr Rosser’s client and she did not record a conviction but said there needed to be a deterrent.
“It can’t be that people come in without the proper qualifications and pretend to be something that they are not,” she said.
Reichman has since graduated and still works for Mr Rosser.
Ms Kirkman-Scroope said he still hopes to work in the legal profession but would now find it hard to gain admission as a legal practitioner.