The partner who sexually harassed a junior female lawyer is leaving Baker McKenzie.
Last week RollOnFriday revealed that the senior partner (whom RollOnFriday is not naming due to the victim's concerns that her identity could be 'jigsawed' if he were identified) invited several associates including the victim back to his hotel for drinks, after which he assaulted her. The firm has confirmed that, following the reports of the assault and subsequent cover-up, the partner is now leaving the firm. RollOnFriday understands that his position was regarded as untenable.
The SRA is now considering whether to launch an investigation into the conduct of Baker McKenzie in relation to the episode. An SRA spokesperson said, “Now that we’re aware of the issue, we will seek further information before deciding on appropriate action”. Of particular concern will be Baker McKenzie's failure to report the matter to the SRA when it occurred. Section 10.4 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct obliges firms to tell the SRA "promptly" about "any serious misconduct" by any authorised person. The non-disclosure element of the settlement agreement entered into by Bakers is also problematic.The Code states that one way in which a firm could fail to comply is by entering into an agreement "which would attempt to preclude" the SRA from investigating "an actual or potential complaint or allegation of professional misconduct".
|"Sure we can keep a lid on it."|
A spokesman for the firm said, “We are in dialogue with the SRA on this matter. As a firm, our values of inclusion and diversity are extremely important to us and we are committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all employees. That is why we are commissioning an independent review of this particular incident and how it was subsequently handled by the firm”.
He said, “The review will also consider how we handle complaints of sexual misconduct and other inappropriate behaviour toward colleagues, to ensure we are guaranteeing the protection of our employees. We are really sorry this incident ever happened and we acknowledge we should have handled it better”.
And as to her going to the police or shouting it from the rooftops rather than accepting a settlement, can we judge what her concerns might have been around that? He had all the power, she had none. Can a criminal barrister help me with the conviction rate for sexual assaults - I doubt it's very high. Sadly, society is all too quick to point the finger at the victim, saying she brought it on herself, so forgive her for not wanting to leave B&M in a blaze of righteous glory and go job hunting with that out in the open.