First Boxing Day, now Valentine's Day - what's he got lined up for Easter?
Barrister Jolyon Maugham has revealed that Allen & Overy boycotted his chambers after he clobbered a fox to death.
On Boxing Day in 2019, Maugham tweeted "I have killed a fox with a baseball bat" while wearing his wife's "too small" kimono.
On Valentine's Day this week, the tax barrister disclosed that in the aftermath of his "stupid tweet", Allen & Overy's head of litigation told Devereux Chambers that while Maugham was a member, "not only would they not send any work to me, but they would not send any work to any other member of Chambers either". Maugham said he offered to resign in order to allow his colleagues to continue to receive instructions from the Magic Circle firm.
The QC said on Twitter that it was "one of the most shocking abuses of power by City bluebloods I have seen".
Maugham identified Karen Seward, A&O's global head of litigation, as the person who allegedly blacklisted his set, telling his 266,000 Twitter followers that he warned the firm he was going public if it didn't apologise. “I offered to keep the matter confidential if they tendered a private apology (which I promised to keep quiet) but they refused", he wrote. Maugham also asked A&O to make a donation to charity.
He posted an extract of an email which he received from A&O General Counsel Andrew Clark after his fox tweet hit the news. Clark informed Maugham that "the Litigation department remains concerned by the widely circulated press reports", and although it was withdrawing its ban, the department reserved the right “to revisit the issue following the outcome of the reported RSPCA (or any Bar Standards Board) investigation, or if it becomes clear that your conduct was in fact unlawful". The RSPCA did not bring a prosecution, and neither did the BSB.
Maugham's public profile exploded after he helped to bring cases against the government's approach to Brexit. He subsequently founded The Good Law Project, which is challenging the government's awards of PPE contracts, and left his chambers at the end of 2020.
"I gain nothing from going public about this", Maugham told RollOnFriday. "Indeed I sought not to - I privately asked Ms Seward to apologise for her actions and promised to keep her apology private if she did. But she refused. When you have huge power, which you abuse, and then shirk responsibility, you should expect to be called out".
Allen & Overy and Devereux Chambers declined to comment.