Freshfields refutes partner misconduct in handling alleged rape case as SRA confirms probe 

Freshfields refutes partner misconduct in handling alleged rape case as SRA confirms probe 

Just when Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer probably thought its #MeToo woes were behind it, a fresh spotlight has been shone on a prominent partner over allegations of misconduct in handling an alleged rape case involving UBS and a Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) investigation underway.

The matter came to light on Thursday (13 August) when the The Financial Times reported that influential Freshfields employment partner Caroline Stroud was being investigated by the watchdog for her conduct in dealing with a review of the investment bank’s handling of a rape allegation.  Continue reading “Freshfields refutes partner misconduct in handling alleged rape case as SRA confirms probe “

Risk management survey 2020 – Crooked timber

Risk management survey 2020 – Crooked timber

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The ongoing #MeToo saga within in the legal profession was only a few chapters old last year when our annual risk and professional indemnity report with broker Marsh went to press. Fast forward a year and law firm risk managers and general counsel (GCs) are faced with a harsher environment to navigate on many fronts. Not least is the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)’s tougher stance on sexual misconduct allegations and calls for firms to have better procedures in place for handling internal complaints, as laid out in the regulator’s new Standards and Regulations (StaRs) rulebook last September.

As Stephen Morton, senior vice-president for professional risks at Marsh, observes: ‘It is striking how human the risks are now, compared to ten years ago after the financial crash when [they] were very much measured against loss strategies. There has been a shift to realising that the legal profession is fundamentally built on people.’ Continue reading “Risk management survey 2020 – Crooked timber”

Junior barristers blast the government’s ‘woefully insufficient’ self-employed support package

Junior barristers blast the government’s ‘woefully insufficient’ self-employed support package

Junior barristers have heavily criticised the government’s self-employed support package as ‘woefully insufficient’ while imploring the Bar Council to address ‘urgent and serious concerns’ about the scheme.

The open letter, published today (30 March), says the government’s Self-Employed Income Support Scheme announced last Thursday neglects newly-qualified barristers as it does not provide financial aid to those without 2018/19 self-employed tax returns that accurately reflect their current earnings. Continue reading “Junior barristers blast the government’s ‘woefully insufficient’ self-employed support package”

‘Under-funded and ill-served’ courts face pressure to adapt as coronavirus hits the justice system

‘Under-funded and ill-served’ courts face pressure to adapt as coronavirus hits the justice system

Courts in England and Wales have made changes to their practices as the Lord Chief Justice joins those dismissing claims the courts can operate as normal as the spread of coronavirus widens.

The justice minister Chris Philip said this week courts would be ‘operating as normal’ despite guidance from the Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning people to avoid unnecessary journeys and to work from home where possible. Continue reading “‘Under-funded and ill-served’ courts face pressure to adapt as coronavirus hits the justice system”

‘Not ingredients for activity’: Treasury reveals fiscal stimulus to battle coronavirus slump

‘Not ingredients for activity’: Treasury reveals fiscal stimulus to battle coronavirus slump

Amid growing economic uncertainty, Treasury today (11 March) announced a budget looking to reassure businesses as coronavirus fears continue to rise and law firm partners brace for a slowdown.

The budget comes as early optimism for 2020 has turned to anxiety among major law firms, with clients become increasingly impacted by the global outbreak of coronavirus. Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a £30bn package to help tackle the virus, which included the abolition of business rates for small businesses and a £1bn government-backed loan scheme. Continue reading “‘Not ingredients for activity’: Treasury reveals fiscal stimulus to battle coronavirus slump”

Beckwith takes SDT misconduct decision to High Court appeal

Beckwith takes SDT misconduct decision to High Court appeal

Former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Ryan Beckwith has filed a High Court appeal against the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal’s (SDT) finding against him in a case of sexual misconduct.

The appeal follows last October’s high-profile judgment that Beckwith knew or ought to have known that the junior member of staff he had sexual activity with was intoxicated and her judgement impaired and that he knew or ought to have known that his conduct was inappropriateContinue reading “Beckwith takes SDT misconduct decision to High Court appeal”

#MeToo: SRA decides against Freshfields’ Beckwith misconduct sanctions appeal

#MeToo: SRA decides against Freshfields’ Beckwith misconduct sanctions appeal

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has decided not to appeal the sanctions handed to former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer restructuring partner Ryan Beckwith by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) for misconduct last October.

The decision brings to a close a long-running and uncomfortable saga for the Magic Circle firm after Beckwith’s sexual activity with a junior member of his team was found to be in breach of principles two and six of the solicitors’ code of conduct, requiring solicitors to ‘act with integrity’ and ‘behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in you and in the provision of legal services’. Continue reading “#MeToo: SRA decides against Freshfields’ Beckwith misconduct sanctions appeal”

Down this road before: State bars fiercely oppose ABA’s US innovation push

Down this road before: State bars fiercely oppose ABA’s US innovation push

The American Bar Association (ABA) suggested yesterday (17 February) that American states consider ‘innovative approaches to the access to justice crisis’ before quickly facing resistance from influential state bars strongly opposed to alternative business structures (ABSs).

The recommendation came through a resolution proposed before a meeting of the ABA’s biannual ruling House of Delegates in Austin, Texas. The original resolution encouraged bars to gather data to assess regulatory innovations to ensure changes that are effective in increasing access to legal services. Continue reading “Down this road before: State bars fiercely oppose ABA’s US innovation push”

‘Unlikely to be repeated’: SDT justifies sanctions in Freshfields’ Beckwith misconduct case

‘Unlikely to be repeated’: SDT justifies sanctions in Freshfields’ Beckwith misconduct case

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal’s (SDT) controversial decision to fine instead of ban Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Ryan Beckwith was because his misconduct was ‘a lapse in his judgement’ and ‘unlikely to be repeated’.

The SDT published today (4 Feburary) its judgment detailing its full reasons after the tribunal last October fined Beckwith £35,000 and ordered him to pay costs of £200,000 for engaging in sexual activity with a junior female colleague in circumstances in which she was ‘intoxicated to the extent that her judgement was impaired’. Continue reading “‘Unlikely to be repeated’: SDT justifies sanctions in Freshfields’ Beckwith misconduct case”

‘Deeply upset’: Law Society’s historic HQ suffers damage after outbreak of major fire

‘Deeply upset’: Law Society’s historic HQ suffers damage after outbreak of major fire

Firefighters were called out to The Law Society’s headquarters over the weekend after a major fire broke out, damaging the historic building late on Saturday, 1 February.

The fire was brought under control early on Sunday, with no injuries sustained as a result. The alarm was sounded on Saturday night after the annual Junior Society dinner was held at the premises, 113 and 114 Chancery Lane in central London. Continue reading “‘Deeply upset’: Law Society’s historic HQ suffers damage after outbreak of major fire”