In the latest of a string of allegations of bad behaviour facing the legal industry, disputes leader Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has sacked City partner Mark Hastings after an investigation into ‘inappropriate behaviour’.
The US-based law firm today (10 May) issued a statement regarding allegations of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ made by two staff members against Hastings (pictured) in February. Quinn Emanuel suspended Hastings in response and commissioned an independent investigation, carried out by Alison Levitt QC of Mishcon de Reya.
Levitt’s findings were presented on 26 April, and Quinn subsequently expelled Hastings without compensation on 8 May.
Quinn’s statement notes that the firm has ‘not sought, nor will we seek, any form of non-disclosure agreement from the complainants in relation to the allegations that they have made’.
The statement adds: ‘Quinn Emanuel takes allegations of the nature made against Mr Hastings extremely seriously. We will not tolerate abusive behaviour from anyone within the firm.’
It is an ignominious departure for the fraud specialist, who had joined the firm in December 2016 from Addleshaw Goddard. Trained at Herbert Smith, Hastings boasted high-profile mandates such as serving as the lead partner for Boris Berezovsky in several cases, including a $6bn commercial court claim against Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich. He was known to be one of Addleshaws’ top billers.
Though the precise nature of the allegations is unknown, the expulsion comes after six months of uncomfortable headlines for the legal industry regarding claims of lax handling of abusive behaviour. The profession has also been criticised for its role in drafting non-disclosure agreements that have helped to keep a lid on historic allegations across many industries.