Baker McKenzie and its former London head Gary Senior have instructed partners at law firms Kingsley Napley and RadcliffesLeBrasseur as they face prosecution by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT), with the first hearing scheduled for Monday 12 August.
Partners at Clyde & Co and Howard Kennedy have also been instructed after the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) announced this week (30 July) it had referred Bakers and Senior for prosecution to the SDT after Senior ‘sought to initiate intimate activity’ with a junior member of staff in 2012.
Kingsley Napley’s legal services regulation specialist Iain Miller is acting for Bakers. RadcliffesLeBrasseur’s Nigel West, whose practice focuses on defending solicitors facing SRA investigations and SDT proceedings, will be representing Senior. Bakers’ former litigation partner Tom Cassels and former HR director Martin Blackburn, who are also facing sanction for their roles in leading the initial investigation into Senior’s misconduct, have instructed Clyde & Co’s regulatory investigations partner Fergal Cathie and Howard Kennedy white-collar crime specialist Ian Ryan respectively. The SRA, meanwhile, will be represented by Capsticks disputes and investigations partner Daniel Purcell.
The SRA has alleged that Senior sought to initiate intimate activity with the junior member of staff, whose identity has not been disclosed, in circumstances in which he was in a position of ‘authority and responsibility’ over them and had knowingly caused them to be alone with him.
The allegations also state that Senior improperly sought to influence the conduct and outcome of the initial investigation launched into the episode seven years ago and try to prevent details on the incident being appropriately shared within the firm.
Bakers, Cassels and Blackburn are accused of allowing Senior to ‘improperly influence’ the investigation launched into the episode and failing to report the matter to the SRA until February last year despite being aware of the facts.
All allegations are subject to the SDT hearing and are as yet unproven.
Senior stayed at Bakers and took on subsequent roles following the episode. He led the firm’s London office until 2013, when he took on the role of EMEA chair. In 2016 he stood for global chair in the election eventually won by Paul Rawlinson.
Senior eventually left the firm last year after details of the episode emerged and has since taken up a role at Finlay Gardener. Former HR director Blackburn left Bakers in 2014 and is now UK people director at KPMG, while litigation partner Cassels joined Linklaters in 2016.