The trend of large firms dismissing partners for wrongdoing following internal investigations continues with Clyde & Co today (12 October) announcing the dismissal of a senior partner after investigating complaints of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ from two female lawyers.
The partner – based outside the firm’s City HQ – was dismissed by the firm on 28 September following an internal investigation. Legal Business understands that no non-disclosure agreements (NDA) have been signed in relation to the complaints, and that the firm has self-reported to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
A Clydes spokesperson said: ‘We hold ourselves to the highest standards of behaviour and expect all of our partners and staff to act with integrity, maintain high ethical standards and to respect local and global regulatory environments at all times.
‘Allegations of inappropriate behaviour were made against a partner. When the allegations came to light we carried out an internal investigation. The outcome of the investigation is that the partner has been dismissed from the firm with immediate effect. Out of respect for the privacy of those concerned we will not be commenting further.’
A spokesperson for the SRA said: ‘We will look at all the available evidence before deciding on the appropriate action.’
This dismissal echoes the similar sacking of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partner Mark Hastings in May this year. Hastings was fired after an independent investigation into ‘inappropriate behaviour’, based on accusations by two staff members. Mishcon de Reya’s Alison Levitt QC carried out the probe, with her findings presented on 26 April. Hastings was expelled without compensation on 8 May.
Hastings has already found new work however, with Mayfair litigation boutique announcing yesterday (11 October) it had hired him, in spite of an ongoing SRA investigation.
Elsewhere, a Baker McKenzie partner left that firm in February after allegedly sexually assaulting an associate. A review by Simmons & Simmons found a ‘number of shortcomings’ in Bakers handling of the incident.
Meanwhile, eight law firms are known to be under some form of SRA investigation related to circumstances surrounding NDAs and harassment, including at least three major firms.
For more on the issue of City law’s handling of NDAs, see ‘Draining the swamp – Do NDAs represent a #MeToo problem for the profession?’