The founder of Cubism Law who “cracked” under the strain of financial problems has been struck off after dishonestly misappropriating client funds.
Andrew Pena qualified in 1992 and founded the firm in 2005. By mid-2018, the firm had run into financial trouble with a growing proportion of the firm’s profit made up of work in progress on conditional fee agreement litigation matters.
As cash started to run low, Pena said he had “much to lose if Cubism went down” and became desperate. He dishonestly created fictitious invoices, improperly transferred more than £265,000 of client funds to the firm and secured a £100,000 loan from a private individual – without telling her of the firm’s financial troubles or advising her to take independent legal advice.
Pena – who admitted all the allegations including dishonesty – gave a full statement in mitigation expressing his remorse. He stated: “I accept my part in my (and the firm’s) undoing and that what I did was shameful, dishonest and inexcusable.”
Explaining the genesis of Cubism Law, based on a “cooperative ideal”, Pena said in his statement: “Ideals and realities are not good bedfellows.”
The SDT said his conduct was of the “utmost seriousness” and under an agreed outcome, Pena was struck off and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs.