Shiraz noticed DWF had given him a much less desirable phone than other partners.
DWF's former Managing Partner in the Middle East is suing the firm for £360,000 over allegedly unpaid performance bonuses, and because it hasn't yet cancelled his expensive corporate mobile phone plan.
Shiraz Sethi was DWF's Head of Employment as well as its regional Managing Partner from 2018 until 2020, when he left the firm and became a Senior Legal Consultant at Dentons. He previously worked at Stephenson Harwood, where he acted for David Haigh when the controversial former Leeds United boss was imprisoned in Dubai.
Under Sethi's alleged arrangement with DWF, if a client instructed the firm because Sethi introduced them, he was to be awarded 10% of fees billed between £300k to £500k, an additional 15% of fees billed between £500k and £750k, and 20% of fees billed over £750k, capped at AED 700,000 (approximately £140,000) per year.
Sethi alleges that after two years of friction-free bonus payments, the firm closed its wallet when he left the firm in January 2020. DWF only paid him £30k and a £20k exit bonus, Sethi claims, and when he sent "numerous follow-up emails" asking for more money the firm ghosted him, leaving him "most unhappy and offended".
The dispute centers around the unseemly jockeying which takes place between partners trying to win the credit for bringing in matters, which enables them to rack up additional payments and equity points.
According to Sethi's claim in the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts, on one occasion banking partners took credit for an instruction which he originated. Citing a rather long chain of causation, Sethi alleges that he was responsible for the initial introduction between a contact at a management consultancy and James Fox, DWF's Managing Partner of Dubai, over golf, which led to the management consultancy subsequently suggesting DWF to a private equity firm as a potential advisor, which then decided to engage the firm on a matter.
Sethi is also suing because he has been unable to transfer his mobile phone number from DWF's corporate plan back to a personal plan. His claim states that he "continues to be charged fees at the corporate plan rate, which he is unable to amend or reduce", a situation which a firm definitely wouldn’t drag its feet over just to wind up an ex-partner.
RollOnFriday was unable to confirm whether Sethi also took action against Stephenson Harwood after he left the firm in 2017, as his lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.
A spokesperson for DWF said, "As this is an ongoing matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time".
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