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Hill Dickinson and RPC cut ties with Exeter Uni Law School students exposed in racist WhatsApp chat
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20 March 2018

Hill Dickinson and RPC have cut ties with members of Exeter University's Law Society after they were accused of making wildly racist comments in a WhatsApp group.

In the exchanges on the 'Dodgy Blokes Soc' group chat, law students including future Hill Dickinson trainee and General Secretary of the Bracton Law Society, Matthew Bell, and an RPC Brand Ambassador and the BLS pro bono officer, Alex Crawford, appear to have used racial epithets to refer to their peers. They also appear to have proposed a race war and joked about gang raping other students. 

Screengrabs of the chat were exposed on Twitter and Facebook by Exeter Uni Law School student Arsalan Motavali, who said he decided to reveal the messages after seeing the coverage of racist chants at Nottingham Trent University.

In the chat, the students appear to have frequently used terms such as "n***er", "coon" and "monkey". Bell allegedly suggested organising a social "where we invite pure ragheads and turn them away". First year law student Bailey Grant appears to have replied that they should hold the event in South Africa instead as it "means we can add in gang rape". He allegedly said they could "buy blacks in bulk" and put "bars on the shed". Crawford appeared to reply "You only need to go as far as Mauritania to get slaves. Much cheaper". In January this year, the group again turned to rape, with Bell allegedly commenting, 'Hey rape is funny'. He appears to have asked Grant to tell a female student they knew that "we'd all like to gang rape her".


Motavali set up the WhatsApp group in 2017, but said that when Bell took over as the administrator and added more students the content "became increasingly racist and deplorable". Motavali said he decided to stay in the group to collect evidence. "I refuse to stand by and let such people who speak in these terms go on to recruit at future law firms", he said, while "cowering behind their phones and talking like this about people that are part of the society they represent".

In the chat, Bell appears to have said of a fellow student, "He's such a stupid little arse licking paki". Ash Chandraharan, who is currently running to become the next Bracton Law Society General Secretary, is shown allegedly replying, "He's why I'm for racial discrimination", and referring to another person as "such a dirty arab".

The group also apparently discussed a photo of London Mayor Sadiq Khan at a football stadium. Grant, allegedly identified in the screenshots by the last three digits of his number, 594, appears to have commented, "I'm disgusted", "get that cancer away from my ground" and "this is why we need a race war".

This morning, within 15 hours of Motavali posting the messages on social media, Hill Dickinson and RPC have both severed ties with Bell and Crawford.

In a statement, Hill Dickinson CEO Peter Jackson confirmed the firm had terminated Bell's training contract. He said, "Following serious allegations made against an individual who was due to join the firm in September 2019, we have now spoken to the individual and revoked his offer of employment. We are deeply disturbed by the messages that were brought to our attention last night and would like to stress that the views expressed by the individual and others involved in this matter do not in any way represent the views of the firm and we absolutely do not condone this behaviour."

RPC Training Principal Simon Hart said that the firm had ended its relationship with Crawford. The student, who did not have a training contract with RPC, was paid by an agency on behalf of the firm to promote RPC on campus. Just not like this. Hart said, "We are absolutely appalled by what we have read this morning, and condemn this sort of behaviour in the strongest possible terms. It is indefensible, vile, and has no place in any society. Despite the fact this individual was never an employee of RPC we, of course, treat the situation as seriously as if he was – it goes wholly against everything we stand for. We can confirm that we are no longer working with him in any capacity. We have also decided to terminate our Brand Ambassador agreement with the agency who employed him with immediate effect".

Bracton Law Society said in a statement, "Bracton Law Society has taken the decision to remove those involved from committee, ban the candidate from the ongoing election and indefinitely ban all those involved from the Society. The Society does not condone or tolerate such behaviour". The University of Exeter said it was investigating the allegations.

Alleged screenshots from the group chat:

.... read more >
Eversheds Sutherland partner tries hard to be diverse
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08 March 2018

You are white. You are male. You are holding a frame. You are diversity. And so is your pal who looks just like you, he is also diversity. Together you can made (sic) a difference.

.... read more >
Jones Day does not care if it is snowing
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01 March 2018

Ice and Eastern Beasts have, as usual, created havoc in the UK. But Jones Day does not give a flying snowball f**k if all your trains are cancelled, your kid's school has shut or if you have slipped and died. Get. To. Work.

Thanks to ROF's source who just wanted "to let you know that Jones Day really cares for their staff's safety".

 Motto of the US Postal Service/Jones Day. .... read more >
Hell hath no fury like a lawyer's partner scorned
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16 February 2018

While not something we would cover in the news, this missive from 'Gwyneth' does give an insight

Lesson: don't dip your quill in the company inkwell. I've changed or [obscured] all the names, dates and places for reasons which will become abundantly clear. Gwyneth writes:

"My now ex-partner 'Mark', 42, [In-house lawyer], [company], [Twitter handle] had an affair with one of his colleagues ('Maria', 25, [company], [Twitter handle]). I have outlined the sorry saga below as well as including a copy of the letter I sent to her should you be interested. 

In a nutshell, he told me he was going to Durban a night earlier than he actually was so he could take her to Dublin on the Valentine's trip that he arranged for us back in September, despite telling me he wasn't seeing her and was trying to work out what he wanted i.e. if we should give our relationship another go. Anyway, the moron sent me a screenshot on the Saturday night accidentally revealing he was in Ireland. Anyway, I am now done with him and his lies so on Valentine's Day I sent her a massive bunch of leeks (I'm Welsh) with a scathing letter, multiple selfies of me and him along with various emails where he spoke of proposing and even to the reverend he wanted to marry us. I also sent him a bouquet of helium filled balloons with her social media profile picture printed which arrived in a big white box while he was out of office in Durban. He is an incredibly private person and has desperately tried to keep the lid in his work based affairs over the years (all bar this one took place before he met me) so the vision of the balloons with his paramour's face floating out in their open plan office is hilarious and the stuff of office legends! I'm not typically a spiteful person so I should add that I have only gone after her so venomously because when I initially approached her via Facebook she was less than apologetic for sleeping with my partner, she is only 25."  

    Do not open the box Mark 

"Hey Maria! 

Hope you had a lovely Valentine’s weekend in know Mark booked that hotel months ago for me and him, right?! I only realised he’d taken you instead when he sent me a screen shot on Saturday night confessing he’d been stalking me on social media and he inadvertently gave the game away that he was in Ireland!  He’s more dumb than I gave him credit for! Oh, and just so you know, he declared to Sam and me in February that he was SINGLE! Are you enjoying still being his dirty little secret?! Cause you are certainly not his girlfriend 🙊

We went for lunch on Friday after I accompanied him to a GP appointment. He concocted some elaborate lie telling me he was going to Budapest with Sam on Saturday night! Guess he must have wanted to keep me sweet. Trouble is I am way more intelligent than him, and you, for that matter.

We actually stayed at the same hotel in Dublin the same weekend in 2017, he's a creature of habit so he wanted to stay there again this year when we did the 10k....sadly that event didn’t know how he doesn’t like to cancel things so I guess he thought you’d do for company, you lucky, lucky whore. 

For me, a shit shag is a shit shag regardless of the country. And yet I persisted with him thinking his personality and the promise of a life together was worth the trade off, more fool me! Perhaps for someone of your age and unscrupulous character you’ll put up with shit sex from Mark and his ‘Tiddler’ 26 years of age, you probably haven’t had better and, from what I’ve seen and heard, you’re unlikely to get better. Mark is probably a step up from go girl! But let’s face it....your ‘City Lawyer’ actually outsources any real legal work to the Magic Circle.....not so much of a ‘City Lawyer’ after all! If he gets made redundant he’s done for and will need to sit tight till he can draw his pension which, coincidentally, isn’t that far off 😂

You’re more than welcome to my stolen boyfriend you deluded, immature, vile and unscrupulous whore.....turns out he’s a pathological liar and I am far too good to waste any more of my time on him. Given you have demonstrated yourself to be a person of limited ‘sense’ ‘reason’ and ‘trust’ as well as being a patronising and vile bitch I am sure the two of you will be blissfully happy together, I give you my fuck each other’s lives up! 🙈 Liars and cheats deserve each other and therefore, my dear, you and him are a match made in heaven! 

According to your Twitter profile you are a self proclaimed “human rights campaigner”. But you are actually a pathetic excuse for a human being who deliberately embarked upon a sexual relationship with a man whom you knew was already taken. Even after my Dad had died suddenly you still shagged Mark when you knew he was still in a relationship with me. I sat and cried, alone, in my flat that night desperate to see Mark, it was the first time I'd been back to London since my Dad died. He spent the next day with me and slept in my bed that night. What sort of vile human being are you? What sort of vile human being is he? Do you really want to be in a relationship with someone who could treat a person he loved the way he treated me? He’d actually been to look at engagement rings and was planning to propose in Durban before you flung yourself at him!  You really are a nasty piece of work and one day, both you and him, will reap what you have sown, or you'll have to lie in the putrid beds that you have made for yourselves. Bad things happen to good people so who knows what fate has in store for individuals like you. So “champagne by day, Netflix by night” actually sums you up very well as a superficial, fickle, easily pleased bitch! You’re not even an’re just a contradiction that did a law degree but wasn’t good enough to do a better hold on to Mark for dear life for he, my under achieving tart, is your ticket and you better trap him before he gets bored! 

FYI don’t get too comfortable, when I asked him to cancel our holiday to Cuba in 2018 he refused.....he doesn’t want to cancel it “in case we give things another go” 😂😂😂😂 As I’m sure you’ll know, he’s 43 this year so be prepared for some grand gesture of a holiday, probably funded out of the £10k engagement ring fund, or even project HM.....that was the code name for his Honeymoon savings BTW! Lucy didn’t even bother to turn up to his 30th birthday holiday so he’s particularly sensitive about these and will no doubt seek to pin you down to dates’s not that he’ll want to spend it with you specifically, he just won’t want to spend it alone or with just his Mum! It was on his 43rd birthday in Berlin that we were aiming to break the news to his Mum that I was pregnant with his baby....Rose for a girl and Nathan for a boy, in case you are interested. Thank fuck I dodged that bullet! 

Please don't think you're special, when I asked him why he cheated on me with you, he said he "liked the attention" he didn't actually have anything to say about you as a person and I really did press him on that because I wanted to understand what was so special about you. He had nothing to say, not even something nice! All he had to say was that he “liked the attention”. Isn’t it pitiful that someone would throw away a relationship for a bit of attention from a bland whore? He could have paid for attention from an actual prostitute but instead he chose to let himself be played by you 😂 This isn’t the first relationship he’s fucked up by cheating, he cheated on Lucy with another two dumb bitches from work, Esme and Gina. Although, to be fair, Esme wasn't that dumb and managed to get a decent amount of money out of him to buy her silence. Gina got a holiday to Vietnam and then told him to fuck off, that one hurt him. Cleo sounds like she was too successful in her own right and too much of a handful for him. Spot a pattern? You and him won’t last, he can’t trust you and he’s exceptionally insecure about trust. 

I felt humiliated for a while but now I don't feel so bad, I mean, look at Beyonce! However, no one could ever accuse you of being 'Maria with the good hair' more like ‘Maria with too much hair in all the wrong places’ and just like Jay-z, Mark was 'punching' with me!  🙊 

In shagging you behind my back he's shat on his own doorstep once too many times. Both of you need to learn that your actions have consequences. Did you really think I was going to let you speak to me like you did in December and not say a word back? If you did then you are as stupid as he was, thinking he'd placated me enough to not let rip at you. Google me. I don't take shit lying down, you naive silly tart. 

And just so you know, he said the sex with you isn’t great, it’s 'immature'. I guess by that he means he hasn't got down on all fours and asked you to 'make me feel vulnerable' and stick your finger in his arse yet?! Or maybe it means you've let him cum on your face, he was desperate to do that to me for 3 whole years but I always said no. Nothing more degrading, if you ask me. He was furious with you for taking that selfie on his balcony and then using it for your social media profile pictures, demonstrated your immaturity apparently. Perhaps I should thank you, after all, it was that profile picture that led to him being caught out. All I did was stick ‘Maria and your company in to Google and then my already broken heart was ripped apart some more when I saw your FB profile was a selfie taken on his balcony. I hope he hasn’t told you that he confessed? He didn’t. I worked it out. You knew you were the 'other woman' and he was never going to dump me for you, regardless of what lies he was spinning you.

He also finds you less attractive than me. Fact. You're also not the size 10 he desires, in fact, he said you are DEFINITELY bigger than a 12. You might say he was saying those things to be kind, but take a long hard look at yourself and this fucked up situation you have got yourself in to Maria. Try and be a grown up, try to take a step back and think about what you want from a relationship. Mark wants to have his cake and eat it. He’s been trying to keep me sweet since I worked out what a deceptive, devious and duplicitous idiot he actually is. I will not play second fiddle to anyone, least of all a bitch like you. All I can say is that I guess he regards you as such an inconsequential soul that he finds it easier to live with himself being a cunt with you standing by his side in the shadows rather than standing by mine in plain sight. He is a troubled soul. You already know he won't admit you are a couple publicly so despite his grand gesture of a Valentines trip to Dublin you are still nothing more than a dirty little secret. Let me remind you, in case it wasn't clear enough at the start, that trip you've just had to Dublin was originally booked for me and him, he took me last year.....does that make a cheap tart feel special and loved? Or just convenient? If you're lucky, maybe he'll get the name changed and take you to Cuba instead, wouldn't that be nice to go on yet another trip that Mark and I had planned together? Enjoy being my stand in 😂

Congratulations Maria, you "won".....enjoy your "prize".....a 42 year old balding, overweight, narcacisst, pathological liar with commitment issues and a borderline alcohol problem.....well done, you love the high life and you went for the gutter 😂

#HappyFuckingValentines ♥️😘"

Yey, Valentine's Day. ROF will try to find a happier way to mark the occasion next year. Let's hope it all works out for them, somehow. .... read more >
A (short) tale of two firms
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07 February 2018

Arriving just minutes apart in RollOnFriday's inbox come two screenshots illustrating the breadth of the legal world.

On the one hand, Hoole & Co. The firm's website advertises help with immigration and visa applications for "those whose first language is not English". It "isn't encouraging that they can't use apostrophes properly then", notes a tipster who is definitely a lawyer. "VISA's every time!".

Meanwhile, a metaphorcial world away another firm has built a helipad. Based outside Hull - sorry - in the Northern Riviera, Devne Law responded to high Loadsamoney demand by painting a big circle on the car park.

How noveau. How devine. .... read more >
Unfortunate phrasing of the week
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05 February 2018

"Not sure this was the headline that Slee Blackwell had in mind", said a tipster.

(Extra points to the firm for employing Saatchi to engineer a logo which literally crosses the 't' and dots the 'i's. It is wonderfully playful and only slightly makes the firm look like it forgot to cross the 't' and dot the 'i's.) .... read more >
Time to laugh at some accountants
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02 February 2018

It has come to RollOnFriday's attention that cosplayers have infiltrated the accountancy profession and are pushing their vile fetish onto innocent lawyers.

Shocking images have emerged from a breakfast seminar put on by Bishop Fleming last November where they appear to have mounted a Harry Potter porn parody with a budget of minus pounds. The effect is so traumatising it technically does qualify as magic.

It is not clear why the woman on the left dressed up. It is well known that all accountants are Vibe Dementors.

Next to her IS Harry Potter, if the Sorting Hat told him he wasn't a wizard but he refused to accept it when he was sent back into the normal schooling system. His enthusiastic, fruitless attempts to solve problems with spellwork resulted in humiliation, bullying and isolation, but he persisted and continues to wear the outfit and act all magic. A small town tragedy, his unwavering belief in his mystical nature and grand destiny means he is now picked up by police as a matter of course whenever there is a disappearance in the local area.

On the right is the main event. Jeremy Corbyn dressed as the corpse of Alan Rickman. Tasteless, perhaps, but at least the wig finally makes his hatred of the EU, as well as all living things, explicit.

Oh My God they shrunk Hagrid. There's a strong sense here that we've got the POV of someone who was pulled into a van and chloroformed and they've just woken up to their new life in a chamber of really bad secrets. The only way this could be more creepy is if the captors had a powerpoint presentation showing they won't listen to reason because they're insane, which they have. Dominant Potter and Gimprid are going to make Zed's dungeon feel like a game of Quidditch, and that broom is your Voldemort and they will make you speak its name.

Anyway, a ROF spy who attended the function described it as "a budget presentation on many levels". .... read more >
Shearman & Sterling's new logo: how it came to be
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26 January 2018
It is 8.59am at the London office of white shoe law firm Shearman & Sterling.

London Managing Partner NICK BUCKWORTH is waiting anxiously behind a red curtain.

On the other side of the curtain a throng of legal journalists are waiting to see the firm's new logo for the first time.

Suddenly CHARLES SAATCHI, the marketing guru who fixed up HFW and Dentons and fieldfisher and Herbert Smith Freehills with their new logos, bursts out of a closet. He is strangling a mop and dressed in a KAPPA tracksuit.

SAATCHI: Die you filthy, tousle-haired anorexic!

BUCKWORTH: Saatchi! Where have you been? I'm supposed to be unveiling Shearman & Sterling's new logo in one minute and I have nothing to show for it!

SAATCHI (wrestling with the mop): Don't fret my boy, I have it under control!

BUCKWORTH: What are you doing?

SAATCHI (tossing the mop away): Her allegations are baseless, false and defamatory and my legal team will be suing. 


SAATCHI: I do not recognise her recollection of what I believe were consensual events, however 
I regret that she felt uncomfortable.

BUCKWORTH: What are your talking about?

SAATCHI: This historic, isolated incident does not reflect who I am now.

Four more mops and a vacuum cleaner topple out of the closet.

SAATCHI: In light of recent events I have decided to step aside from my businesses while I devote myself to becoming part of the solution.

BUCKWORTH: You're talking nonsense.

SAATCHI slaps BUCKWORTH across the face.

SAATCHI: Believe their stories! Women are human beings too, I've been informed.

BUCKWORTH: Yes, but those are mops.

SAATCHI: And you can't abuse a mop. Legally. Can you? I'm back in business!

BUCKWORTH: Listen you ingrate, where is our logo?

SAATCHI: Of course. What a great brief. Shearman & Sterling. I took a cut from the former and a lot of the latter. 

BUCKWORTH: Yes you were very expensive.

SAATCHI: If I recall correctly, this is your current logo.


SAATCHI: But it is tired.


SAATCHI: And as a storied UK firm you want to hark back to when Britain was great.


SAATCHI: To a time when the country was flying high, when Britpop ruled the airwaves, when the Spice Girls were feminist icons, when Jimmy Savile was beloved and rebelliousness could be measured by the severity of one's undercut. A logo, in short, which recaptures the halcyon days of 1990s Britain!

BUCKWORTH: That is completely wrong. We are a US firm and we want a modern logo that looks forward, not back. So I assume you are joking which, while interesting, is not at all timely or appropriate as I have to step onto that stage in 30 seconds.

SAATCHI: Say, 'aright our kid' - to the new face of Shearman & Sterling!

BUCKWORTH: That's the Oasis logo.

SAATCHI: What's the story? Law-ing glory! Tagline, right there.

BUCKWORTH: Tell me you have something else.

SAATCHI: A Parklife fan. Fine. I do. How about something edgy which makes your competitors look stale?


SAATCHI: From the 1990s -


SAATCHI: Inspired by Spliffy jeans -

BUCKWORTH: No, I can tell you right now -

SAATCHI: Say 'high' to your new logo!

BUCKWORTH: Absolutely not.

SAATCHI: But the little fella's smoking a naughty cigarette.

BUCKWORTH: Listen you clown, I am not presenting the most ferocious press corp in the world with this abomination. It'll be like tossing red meat to sharks.

SAATCHI: No worries amigo. What about this? 

SAATCHI rips open his KAPPA tracksuit, hauls off a Sweater Shop jumper and tears a Global Hypercolour T-shirt in half to reveal a Ben Sherman shirt.

SAATCHI: Say hello to your new logo!

BUCKWORTH: That's the Ben Sherman logo.

SAATCHI: A 90s classic.

BUCKWORTH: But we're not called that.

SAATCHI unfolds a craft table and unpacks stencils, pens, scissors and an iron. He proceed to frantically cut, glue and steam his shirt while still wearing it.

SAATCHI: But if I just do this, and AAARGH THAT IS HOT this, then work my magic like NYYAHH MY NIPPLE this, then lo and behold by the neck...your new logo!

BUCKWORTH: Oh that really is foul.

SAATCHI: That's what they said to Einstein.

BUCKWORTH: I'm pretty sure they didn't.

SAATCHI: Don't bring looks into this. 

BUCKWORTH: It's a rip-off! And a mess! And we're not even spelt like that.

SAATCHI: Not a problem. I'll get rid of the colours, shame, and snip, snippety-snip...say hello to your new logo!

BUCKWORTH: You've just added an 'a'. It's still a rip-off.

SAATCHI: I take your point. One second...Ta da!

BUCKWORTH: That reads 'Shearman Shearman & Sterling'.

The sound of nasal chanting and feeble stamping can be heard from behind the curtain.

BUCKWORTH: But those wolves are growing impatient. You leave me no choice. We'll take it. But I'm not paying for it.

SAATCHI scoops up all the mops and jumps through a closed window, cutting himself badly. 

SAATCHI: I have your women! I have all your women! And some of your glass, in my leg! Saatchi wins again!

BUCKWORTH considers his options. Then he pulls on the modified Ben Sherman shirt, takes a deep breath, fixes a smile on his face and steps through the curtain. There is silence. Then cheers. The reception is ecstatic. The Shearman Shearman & Sterling logo will go on to become one of the most successful logos ever conceived probably. Within days Saatchi is replaced with Christopher Plummer.
.... read more >
Exclusive; Slaughter and May raises pay, awards big bonuses
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13 December 2017

Slaughter and May has awarded bonuses of between 9% and 16% to all its associates. In addition it has raised trainee, NQ and 1PQE salaries.

In the firm's traditional, and admirably semi-socialist, way, all lawyers within their PQE band will receive the same discretionary performance bonus. At the top end of the scale it means that 5PQEs will take home an extra 16% of their annual salary.

PQE  Bonus % 
 NQ - 0.5 PQE  9% 
 1 - 2 PQE  12%
 2.5 - 4 PQE  14%  
 4.5 - 6.5 PQE  16%  

The bonuses will arrive in a lump sum in associates' December paypackets, and mirror the sizeable percentages awarded last crimbo.

    Surely one 3PQE will spend her bonus wisely.

The firm has also raised some junior salaries. With effect from January 2018, trainee salaries will rise by £1,000, the NQ salary by £2,000, the 6 month PQE salary by £1,500 and the 1PQE salary by £1,000.

PQE  Current salary  New salary 
 First year trainee  £43,000  £44,000
 Second year trainee  £48,000  £49,000
 NQ  £78,000  £80,000
 1PQE  £87,000  £88,000
 2PQE  £98,500  £98,500
 3PQE  £108,000  £108,000

The firm has not raised the salaries of other PQE bands after it awarded major raises in last year's sweeping benefits review. A source close to the firm said the latest small increases represented a rebalancing exercise to bring the trainee, NQ and 1PQE salaries in line with the market - albeit the Magic Circle market, not the US firm market. In a letter seen by RollOnFriday, Executive Partner Paul Stacey told staff that the raises were being implemented because "we aim to pay broadly in line with the average of the other Magic Circle firms' total cash (salary and bonus)".

However a spokesman did not rule out further increases next year, telling RollOnFriday that a salary review would take place in the spring.  .... read more >
Clifford Chance and partner fined £50,000 each
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01 December 2017

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has fined Clifford Chance £50,000 and partner Alex Payanides another £50,000.

The firm and Panayides admitted that they entered into a Conditional Fee Arrangement unlawfully. They also admitted that they failed to disclose to a potential litigation funder of their client, Excalibur Ventures, that a document providing advice to Excalibur was drafted by one of its owners. And they admitted paying money held on behalf of litigation funders other than in accordance with the relevant funding agreements.

RollOnFriday broke the news last week that Panayides, a litigation and arbitration partner in the Magic Circle firm's London office, was due to appear before the SDT.

CC and Panayides earned their £100,000 fine in relation to a catastrophic 2010 claim brought by Excalibur against Texas Keystone Inc and Gulf Keystone Petroleum Limited.

Excalibur, which had no assets, claimed that it was owed rights to develop oil fields in Kurdistan. Under lead partner Panayides, Clifford Chance agreed to act for Excalibur on a CFA, understood to be the firm's first (and now, surely, its last). A group of third party litigation funders gave Excalibur £31.75 million to pursue the matter to trial. Over £14 million of the war chest was paid to Clifford Chance in fees.

But the High Court claim failed on every point. Emphatically. The High Court said Excalibur's case was "essentially speculative and opportunistic" and "based on no sound foundation in fact or law". It said the $1.6 billion quantum of the claim was "grossly exaggerated" and worth $3.3 million at best. The funders were ordered to pay the defendants' £20 million costs. They appealed and lost.

    £50,000. That's, like, 30,000 milkshakes? 

The courts were critical of Clifford Chance, citing a conflict of interest (Panayides' brother and father both worked for companies owned by one of the litigation funders), the high success fee uplift (140%), and Panayides' "aggressive and unacceptable correspondence".

The funders sued Clifford Chance for professional negligence in 2014, blaming Panayides for over-stating the claim's chances of success. The firm settled for an undisclosed amount.

Now, three years later, the regulator has had its say. The SRA found that neither Panayides not Clifford Chance had a conflict of interest. Nor, understandably, did it care about a litigation lawyer sending aggressive letters. In a summary, the SRA said no breaches of the Solicitors' Code were identified "in respect of the respondent's substantive conduct of the litigation" and stated that it "agrees that the admissions and outcome satisfy the public interest having regard to the gravity of the matters alleged". Clifford Chance will be hoping that copping to the charges presented draws a line under the matter, which has been dragging on for seven years, but it's still mighty embarrassing. 

A spokesman said, "We take our obligations to our clients and the profession extremely seriously and are committed to upholding the highest standards at all times. We accept the SDT's findings that some aspects of our conduct in this matter did not meet these high standards. The issues referred to the SDT were not prompted by any complaint but had all been identified and self-reported to the SRA by the firm following our own prompt and thorough internal review." 

"We are pleased to note that the honesty and integrity of all parties is nowhere in question and that none of the original judicial criticism, which prompted the SRA investigation, is reflected in the SRA's findings."

"While it was found that our systems and controls were appropriate, as a firm we are committed to further developing and promoting market-shaping practices in relation to ethics and professional standards."

CC is the latest City firm to suffer from the regulator's new, bolder stance on fines. In April three Clyde & Co partners were ordered to pay £10,000 each and the firm was also fined £50,000, then a record amount from the SDT. But it was broken weeks later in July when the SDT fined White & Case £250,000 and one of its partners £50,000 for breaching conflict of interest rules. And then in November Locke Lord got whacked with £500,000. £100,000? Come on, CC. .... read more >

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