Nick West, a senior partner at DLA Piper, has been fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £12,000 costs for making offensive comments in an email exchange with a client.
West's choice remarks - including referring to women as troublesome "gash" and a female in house lawyer as someone whom he had to fend off his "graphite shaft" - were leaked to the press in 2014. West apologised, but such is his clout within the firm that DLA Piper gave him only the mildest of rebukes and even offered up some words of support. Clearly someone was less than impressed by West's protestations that this had just been banter between friends, because he was reported to the SRA last year. In March the SRA concluded that there was a case to answer, and this week West found himself before a tribunal.
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West had originally agreed to pay a fine of £10,000 in return for the evidence not to be made public, but the chairman of the tribunal, Andrew Spooner, ordered that it be read out. Spooner described West's comments as "despicable" and increased the fine to £15,000.
A spokeswoman for DLA Piper said "the firm respects the outcome reached by the SDT and is pleased this matter has now concluded".