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Latest #MeToo episode emerges as Reed Smith dismisses partner following complaint

Reed Smith has dismissed a partner in its London office after a complaint of sexual harassment, it has emerged. Originally reported on RollonFriday, the unnamed partner was accused of sexually harassing a junior female trainee, though the nature of the incident has not been clarified.

The episode has just emerged but the partner was dismissed in late 2017. In a statement, Reed Smith commented: ‘As soon as we became aware of this incident, which took place over a year ago, we took swift and appropriate action. The safety and well-being of all of our colleagues matter greatly to us, and we are committed to providing a positive and professional workplace for all our people.’

The firm did not confirm whether the matter had been reported to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), however, a spokesman for Reed Smith said the firm took ‘all appropriate action’. Incidentally, Reed Smith is one of the few major law firms to have a female leader in the shape of finance rainmaker Tamara Box, who serves as its European managing partner.

The matter is the latest uncomfortable development for the legal profession, with Baker McKenzie, Latham & Watkins, Dentons and Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) among those this year embroiled in complaints of inappropriate behaviour by partners. Intense scrutiny is also being placed on the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) with Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy being questioned by MPs in March in relation to the NDA used to silence Zelda Perkins after allegations of sexual assault by her former boss, film producer Harvey Weinstein.