Warning: Letter misusing the name K&L Gates LLP

15 February 2021

Correspondence has been sent misusing the name "Michael Johns" of "K&L Gates LLP."

What is the scam?

We understand that a letter has been sent to a potential investor claiming to be from "Michael Johns" of "K&L Gates LLP" (see below in relation to the genuine firm and non-practising solicitor).

The letter seen by the SRA was an attachment to an email sent by Hellenic Biosciences and claims to be confirmation that K&L Gates represents Hellenic Biosciences.

The address quoted in the letter is One New Change, London, EC4M 9AF which is the address of a genuine firm (see below).  The letter also quotes an SRA number for the firm, which is the SRA number of the genuine firm.

Any letters provided by or relating to Hellenic Biosciences which claim to be from K&L Gates LLP are not undertaken by a solicitor's practice authorised and regulated by the SRA or by an individual authorised and regulated by the SRA.

Is there a genuine firm or person?

The SRA authorises and regulates a genuine firm of solicitors called K&L Gates LLP.

The SRA also authorises and regulates a Michael Johns, who is a non-practising solicitor.

The genuine firm of K&L Gates LLP has confirmed that neither it nor the genuine Michael Johns, have any connection to the letter referred to in the above alert. 

What should I do?

When a firm's or individual's identity has been copied exactly (or cloned), due diligence is necessary. If you receive correspondence claiming to be from the above firm(s) or individual(s), or information of a similar nature to that described, you should conduct your own due diligence by checking the authenticity of the correspondence by contacting the law firm directly by reliable and established means. You can contact the SRA to find out if individuals or firms are regulated and authorised by the SRA and verify an individual's or firm's practising details. Other verification methods, such as checking public records (e.g. telephone directories and company records) may be required in other circumstances.