Full disclosure – How to resolve the profession’s #MeToo problem

Full disclosure – How to resolve the profession’s #MeToo problem

‘If you’re a partner and in control of someone’s career, that is an unequal relationship. Repeated drunken flings are not the work of a balanced, responsible partner. Could she have realistically said no? He was in control of her. He was her boss.’

So says one City employment veteran of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) prosecution and subsequent departure in October of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer restructuring partner Ryan Beckwith, following findings of sexual misconduct with a junior member of staff. It reveals uncomfortable truths about why, with its esoteric partnership structure and pressure-cooker working conditions, the legal industry is more susceptible than many to the fallout from #MeToo allegations and the behaviour that fuels them. Continue reading “Full disclosure – How to resolve the profession’s #MeToo problem”

Bakers former City head Senior admits to sexually harassing associate but denies abuse of position

Bakers former City head Senior admits to sexually harassing associate but denies abuse of position

Baker McKenzie’s former London managing partner Gary Senior has admitted his behaviour after a firm event in 2012 amounted to sexual harassment towards a junior associate but said he did not believe at the time that his advances were unwanted.

In the third of 15 days of hearings at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT), Senior admitted today (4 December) that he tried to kiss a female associate half his age and agreed this behaviour was ‘totally inappropriate and unacceptable for a managing partner’, but denied it was an abuse of his position. Continue reading “Bakers former City head Senior admits to sexually harassing associate but denies abuse of position”

Bakers accused of ‘failure’ over handling of allegations of sexual misconduct against former London head

Bakers accused of ‘failure’ over handling of allegations of sexual misconduct against former London head

Baker McKenzie was accused of ‘collective failure’ for the way it handled allegations of sexual misconduct against its former London head Gary Senior yesterday (2 December), beginning a 15-day Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) hearing.

Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) lead counsel Andrew Tabachnik QC of 39 Essex Chambers said the firm allowed Senior to seek to influence the conduct and outcome of an investigation into a complaint made against him by a junior associate. Continue reading “Bakers accused of ‘failure’ over handling of allegations of sexual misconduct against former London head”

Beckwith ruling a wake-up call for profession as regulators close in on #MeToo complaints

Beckwith ruling a wake-up call for profession as regulators close in on #MeToo complaints

Ruling sends strong message but Nathalie Tidman finds unease over watchdog’s shifting remit

October’s prosecution of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Ryan Beckwith highlights awkward truths for the profession as regulators increasingly target claims of harassment and sexual misconduct in law. The ruling on 10 October, the most high-profile scalp yet after a string of embarrassing post-#MeToo disclosures for the UK legal profession over the last 18 months, has already produced a bout of soul searching across the City along with many lurid headlines. Continue reading “Beckwith ruling a wake-up call for profession as regulators close in on #MeToo complaints”

Slater and Gordon’s long-running £637m Quindell action settles for paltry sum as office closures continue

Slater and Gordon’s long-running £637m Quindell action settles for paltry sum as office closures continue

The long-running saga around Slater and Gordon’s (S&G) invidious Quindell acquisition settled on the eve of trial this week for a slither of the initial claim.

A tough week for the national firm was then compounded by the closure of its Leeds office and consultation over a further closure at its Watford call centre. Continue reading “Slater and Gordon’s long-running £637m Quindell action settles for paltry sum as office closures continue”

Tribunal finds against Freshfields partner in high-profile misconduct case

Tribunal finds against Freshfields partner in high-profile misconduct case

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer restructuring partner Ryan Beckwith engaged in sexual activity with a junior female colleague in circumstances in which she was ‘intoxicated to the extent that her judgment was impaired’, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) found today (10 October).

The SDT said at a hearing this morning that Beckwith knew or ought to have known that the junior member of staff was intoxicated and her judgement impaired and that he knew or ought to have known that his conduct was inappropriate. The verdict followed a seven-day hearing that has attracted a stream of headlines. Continue reading “Tribunal finds against Freshfields partner in high-profile misconduct case”

A&O’s Mansell to appear before SDT in December as #MeToo fallout promises busy winter

A&O’s Mansell to appear before SDT in December as #MeToo fallout promises busy winter

Allen & Overy (A&O) employment partner Mark Mansell is to face his first Solicitor Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) hearing on Wednesday 5 December following an investigation into his role drafting a controversial non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein.

A spokesperson for the SDT confirmed to Legal Business yesterday (9 September) the new date for Mansell’s hearing, which had originally been scheduled for 3 June. Continue reading “A&O’s Mansell to appear before SDT in December as #MeToo fallout promises busy winter”

SRA drops sexual harassment inquiry into former Reed Smith partner

SRA drops sexual harassment inquiry into former Reed Smith partner

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has dropped an investigation into a former Reed Smith partner who was dismissed from the firm over a complaint of sexual harassment.

The allegation came to light last November, with the matter reported to have involved the sexual harassment of a junior female trainee, while the unnamed London-based partner was dismissed from the firm in late 2017. Continue reading “SRA drops sexual harassment inquiry into former Reed Smith partner”

Disputes heavyweights weigh in as Burford Capital alleges ‘illegal manipulation’ of shares after Muddy Waters attack

Disputes heavyweights weigh in as Burford Capital alleges ‘illegal manipulation’ of shares after Muddy Waters attack

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Morrison & Foester have all been enlisted by litigation funder Burford Capital to pursue claims of illegal market manipulation by short-seller Muddy Waters.

Burford today (12 August) said in a statement that a preliminary finding of its analysis of trading shares last week displayed ‘evidence consistent with illegal market manipulation.’ The statement came after more than £1bn was wiped off the company’s value last week after San Francisco-based Muddy Waters published a report suggesting Burford was ‘a perfect storm for an accounting fiasco.’ Continue reading “Disputes heavyweights weigh in as Burford Capital alleges ‘illegal manipulation’ of shares after Muddy Waters attack”

Kingsley Napley, Clydes and Howard Kennedy instructed as Bakers and former London head Senior face SDT prosecution

Kingsley Napley, Clydes and Howard Kennedy instructed as Bakers and former London head Senior face SDT prosecution

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. Continue reading “Kingsley Napley, Clydes and Howard Kennedy instructed as Bakers and former London head Senior face SDT prosecution”