A former Dentons lawyer has been banned from the legal profession in England and Wales for touching a colleague inappropriately at a bar.

Gordon Herd, a Scottish qualified solicitor, was an associate in Dentons’ corporate practice when he joined colleagues at a London bar in September 2021 for a work social event.

A female colleague complained that at the party he placed his leg between her legs and rubbed her thighs, then rubbed her back and bottom, and “stood so close to her that she felt uncomfortable”.

Dentons investigated and upheld her grievance, but Herd resigned before his scheduled disciplinary meeting could take place.

It then reported him to the SRA in March 2022, and now the regulator has decided his conduct meant that it was “undesirable for him to be involved in a legal practice” without its prior approval. 

His conduct “was serious because during a work event he repeatedly touched a female colleague in a sexual manner without her consent”, said the SRA.

“He was directly responsible for his own conduct which made his colleague feel vulnerable, uncomfortable and distressed.”

Herd was also ordered to pay the SRA's costs of £600. 

A Dentons spokesperson told RollOnFriday, “We take such incidents very seriously and are committed to providing a working environment free from harassment and ensuring that all staff are treated, and treat others, with dignity and respect. The Associate in question left the firm following an internal investigation and we reported the incident to both the SRA and the Law Society of Scotland”.

Herd remains on the Scottish Roll, and a Law Society of Scotland spokesman said the body “cannot confirm or deny individual complaints cases".

“In any case where we have reason to believe that one of our members has not met the high professional standards expected of them we will take action", he said.

Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 19 January 24 09:06


Nobody wants a Scottish man standing too close and touching their clothes, but surely this is one of those situations where losing their job is sufficient. 

Anonymous 19 January 24 09:25

Such inconsistency.  How come Gary Senior - managing partner of Bakers at the time - wasn't banned from the law therefore?

Anonymous 19 January 24 09:26

Clearly he deserves punishment (potentially criminal as well as regulatory) but striking off?

Touching someone's leg without consent is serious enough for a strike off but admitting to burying thousands of documents in one of the biggest legal scandals in British history (looking at you Wombles and the post office....) Seems to be ok?? 


Anonymous 19 January 24 09:27

What does this have to do with his role as a solicitor? No dishonesty was involved and they were in a bar, not the office.

A ridiculous decision by the SRA

Anon 19 January 24 09:29

It damages public trust in the profession and the regulator's job is to protect clients and the public ultimately, hence why this is a proportionate step. 

Elephantinthewildhappyandfree 19 January 24 09:47

This is not a proportionate step. This regulator is seriously incompetent which is damaging for the whole profession.

? 19 January 24 09:56

Absurd decision.   

This kind of advance at a colleague is clearly unacceptable, doubly so if groping is involved,  and the firm was going to discipline him for it.   

Nonetheless, on the information, barring him is a disproportionate punishment.  Sacking him would have been a harsh but fair outcome.  

Barring someone from the profession should be the SRA's ultimate sanction, and is there to protect the public from rogue lawyers who might steal, commit fraud, etc.   

One has to question whether that it the appropriate punishment for what seems to be a a gross, unwelcome, one-off advance at a colleague.  Particularly so, when as, other comments note, the SRA seems oddly unwilling to come down hard on solicitors who really are damaging public confidence in the profession, cf. Post Office scandal. 

Anonymous 19 January 24 10:14

Agree. SRA polices professional conduct. This is either a police matter or an internal disciplinary. 

Anonymous 19 January 24 10:17

Have Wombles admitted failing to disclose documents in the Post Office case? 

It looks like it is leading that way, but I wasn’t aware they had fessed up yet.

D 19 January 24 10:19

If he was a senior partner in a big city firm, the SRA would say “there was no evidence that he thought his advances would not be welcomed and therefore we are taking no further action”. This is how they operate. They decide whether they want to sanction and then reverse engineer reasons they will, or won’t. How do I know? I worked there for 4 years. 

Paper Cuts 19 January 24 10:21

Another young woman with a victim / self-pity mindset who considers that her employer should be her chaperone.   I’m a bloke.  When I was much younger, thinner and hotter (that was in the last century folks), I was a second-year trainee.  A first-year trainee female (blond, gorgeous, v posh), used to rub her (v shapely) leg against mine under the meeting room table in an insistent manner which left little room for ambiguity about her intentions.  I had barely spoken to her previously, and had a girlfriend (and she had a boyfriend), so the attention was not something that I had done anything to encourage.  But it was flattering, and exciting in the moment, albeit somewhat distracting when you were trying to speak about client updates lol, and while I obviously did not follow up and nothing ever occurred between us, the idea that the poor horny girl should lose her job for something as minor as that would have horrified me tbh. I admired her forwardness, and considered she had more courage and much more honesty than me, as I was prone to feigning indifference (a disastrous policy of course, and one which would have condemned me to a life of celibacy had it nor been for the saving horny aggression of the various wonderful women in my life).  I also was hit on by a particular senior female partner.  I didn’t much fancy her, but she was a nice person.  We got on socially very well, and all I thought was well she’s only human.  No big deal. What a rabidly puritanical world we now live in, and how grimly intolerant today’s young people are.    

Anon 19 January 24 11:02

to Paper Cuts - I reckon I am probably your age or a tad older so decades from being young and horny but as secretary when I got inappropriately hit on I tended to be honest and say not interested mate and any inappropriate touching was slapped away (hard and no one took offence at being so slapped either) - but sometimes a little inappropriate flirting was fun (and occasionally the random inappropriate comment made me laugh and gave me stories to tell now I am retired - like the partner that thought I would make a great dominatrix hahahaha so off the wall and completely inappropriate).  I think it is our own fault the young ones are like they are - we over protected them and didn't give them the tools to be anything other than the victim (honestly - don't go to a chaps hotel room if you don't want to get into trouble - 101 parenting advice from my mother!) and are reaping what we have sowed.  I wouldn't have gone to HR for anything less than any of my lawyers committing a crime and that I would have reported and they knew it.  PS. I never had an affair with any of my lawyers - too much of a cliche - and I always told them don't cheat on your wives and let me find out about it because I will tell your wives - so if any of them did I was kept out of that horrible mess and I had a nice respectful/respectable bunch to work with.


Parsnip 19 January 24 11:04

Does it follow from this that any sexual harassment claim made at a law firm must also be reported to the SRA?  It sounds like it does? High stakes....

Anonymous 19 January 24 11:40

If he'd punched her at a work event, would the boomers still be butthurt about this? Poor woman - sounds horrible. Agreed that the SRA should be taking more of an interest in the Post Office stuff.

Anon 19 January 24 11:48

So many commenting above who are so ignorant of the regulatory landscape and the direction of travel more widely.   It's not ok anymore for sexual misconduct to be covered up, it massively damages public trust in the profession and helps cause a toxic workplace.   


Anonymous 19 January 24 12:10

Great to see the SRA tare sexual harrassment at wPark seriously (for once)! I hope they continue to crack down!!!!! 

Anon 19 January 24 12:14

Would the lady in question have gone to the police over someone touching her leg in a bar on a Saturday night?I think not. And if she did, they wouldn’t do anything about it.  I think this is a deeply concerning decision made by the SRA. Hope this chap appeals!

Anon@ 19 January 24 12:18

This wouldn’t even be a police matter! Metoo gone mad. We should all be concerned by this. Hope he appeals and sticks it to the SRA and Dentons. I see the Law Society of Scotland have sense.

Ridiculous 19 January 24 12:24

It is utterly ridiculous that this sort of thing doesn’t get dealt with in the moment. Just slap him. Then walk away. The crybabies of today needed to wake up very quickly as they are ruining life for everybody. I know I will get hammered for this post because it seems to excuse this bloke, but I don’t want to do that at all. If he did this to my wife, he would deserve everything he gets, and trust me that would be a pretty violent smack in the chops, and that would be the end of the matter.

Elephantinthewildhappyandfree 19 January 24 12:36

I wonder whether considering some of the evidence relied on in a number of SRA recent decisions and the heaviness and inconsistency of the sanctions their decisions could be appealed to a national and international Court on the grounds they are acting as an illegal court with no Article 6 protections? 

Anonymous 19 January 24 12:57

@11.48 - then it should be reported to the police. No criminal conviction, nothing for the SRA to swoon over. 

Lord Lester 19 January 24 12:59

Hi Gordon, it's Mo Lester here! You and I would get on well. Let me know when you are next in a bar! Look out, girls! 

Anonymous 19 January 24 13:08

The absolute state of these comments.  Glad he was struck of for being a gropey loser.  Richly deserved.  If you don't want to be struck off, don't grope people without consent.  

Anon@ 19 January 24 13:30

@anonymous - SRA didn’t say anything about ‘groping’ - did they. Words have impact.  

anon 19 January 24 13:35

Anon@ 19 January 24 13:30: groping means non-consensual sexual touching. Therefore, given that, as reported above, the SRA found that Gordon Herd "repeatedly touched a female colleague in a sexual manner without her consent”, it was accurate to describe what he did as groping.

Anonymous 19 January 24 13:38

So obvious that several of the defensive comments above are written by the person whose conduct is in question. Some great victim blaming instead of having a long hard look at themselves…

Clarity 19 January 24 13:47

He was not struck off because he was not a solicitor in England. He was made the subject of a s.43  Order which is not the same (and importantly, does not require a full hearing or even proper proof of misconduct). It is possible (not a Scottish lawyer myself so not sure) that he could also be the subject of proceedings by his home regulator, the Law Society of Scotland. 

There are some issues here about the SRA's excess of jurisdiction in (i) applying s.43 to conduct outside of legal practice given the wording of that section and (ii) taking a primary role when there is another regulator on the scene. This does also seem to contravene SRA's stated position that it is not a replacement for the employment tribunal...

Braveheart 19 January 24 14:47

In Scotland, it is considered rude if you don’t grope a woman you fancy. In England, maybe you smile, in Wales maybe you wink, in N Ireland maybe you blush. Us Scots just kop a feel. If she isn’t into you, she will let you know. It’s our culture. Respect our ways please. 

Roscoe P. Coltrane 19 January 24 15:15

The reportage states that the SRA concluded that it is “undesirable for him to be involved in a legal practice” without its prior approval", so he could seek approval and say a few mea culpas, mention that he is undergoing therapy for sex addiction and/or alcoholism, and make a fresh start? Or practice in Scotland where he's not barred? 

Lady Luck 19 January 24 15:58

How times have changed. What has happened to women of the noughties that could stand up for themselves?

When I was a fresh faced trainee in the early 00's, I had the time of my life. I personally enjoyed the late night deals and after drinks in city bars which often ended back in the office with people enjoying each others "company".

We all had the usual change of clothes and paracetamol ready so we could face the next morning before we were put on the next deal. Yes there would be the odd embarrassed smile and the odd whisper by the photocopier to make sure that we had used protection, but it wasn't limited to the male partners pursuing trainees and associates.  Single, married; male, female; trainees, associates and partners - it mattered not - we were all at it. No one was forced to do anything they didn't want to do. It was just a bit of fun. Remember fun?

If I hadn't wanted the attention or the late night exercise, I would have told them to b*gger off and they would have. Nowadays, from what I read, you have some women who stand there with a colleague's hand way up their pleated skirt, smiling back, who don't do anything at the time other than send a WhatsApp to a friend explaining that they are being fingered at a bar, so they have a date stamp of the exact moment.

Then, they run off to HR the next day with their WhatsApp message and say "Oh poor me, look at the evidence, I was fingered, isn't it terrible?". You have to question what on earth has happened. If I didn't want to be fingered, I would have just made my position very clear and the embarrassment would have taken care of the rest. Trust me, it got a message home quickly but without depriving anyone of a career. 

It hasn't done me any harm. I am now in my 40's,  in an equity position. I still work with some of the people I worked with then.  And looking through the glass panel onto my own floor, I know that some of my team, who religiously devour ROF and its comments on a Friday,  will read this having no idea that 20 years ago, I was having a much better time on a Friday than they will ever have reading ROF (sorry ROF!!). The best story a youngster today will be able to repeat in 20 years is how they once drank 9 decaf mochas in a single day. 

Don't get me wrong, my no knickers Fridays are behind me. Two kids makes it trickier to pull that off. Whilst I wouldn't dream of it these days because I am happily married, I don't think those who are less happy or settled should be stopped from having some fun because the SRA has deemed it improper for solicitors to enjoy sex with others solicitors. 

When was the last time a doctor and a nurse, or a pilot and an air stewardess  got struck off for having an intimate relationship? I can't think of a single story. 

I'd be amazed if the SRA lot aren't all at it. No one can be that boring all of the time. If you work at the SRA, are reading this, and can pull it off, try a no knicker Friday. Try to smile. It doesn't hurt. 

Anonymous 19 January 24 17:24

Obviously this is far more important than going after the lawyers involved in the Post Office scandal.

The Vivienne 19 January 24 17:28

Prior to their merger with [x] a senior partner in [x] took it upon himself to make unwanted sexual advances to an insurer client by text message. Said client made a complaint about his conduct which was referred to the Senior Partner. His solution was to take the individual out for a drink “to have a word with him.”  I wonder what the SRA would make of that? There again the same senior partner was himself the subject of a client complaint for being drunk on a train so a theme develops there. PS [x] are promoting both individuals

Anonymous 19 January 24 19:23

09.29 - it doesn’t damage public trust in the profession as it had nothing to do with his roll as a solicitor.

Female lawyer 19 January 24 19:51

Completely agree with Lady Luck; I qualified at around the same time, had a blast as a junior lawyer, and think the world is in a desperately sad state now. People - and regulators - are so busy being woke that they have lost all sense of proportionality.  This guy arguably deserved to be sacked - assuming the conduct he’s accused of has been independently verified as being true, which is sadly not a pre-requisite for sanctions now -  but banned? Seriously?!

Without suggesting this is the case here, there are women who lie, especially vindictive little snowflakes who want to play the victim or get something out of making a complaint (revenge, promotion, power, attention, all of the above). Sadly this is all too forgotten now and as soon as someone makes any allegation of this nature it’s treated as though it’s true. 

Elephantinthewildhappyandfree 19 January 24 20:59

Commentator at 13.08 must have been logging in at different browsers and liking own comments

Anonymous 20 January 24 08:15

Sex Ed classes need to include what behaviours are acceptable/unacceptable when sexually attracted to another person.  And a reminder that attraction and desire are not always mutual.

It would save us from a lot of these situations.

Anon 20 January 24 10:33

Anon 19 January 24 09:29: exactly. It was at a work event and involved the non-consensual sexual touching of one solicitor by another. It therefore brings the profession into disrepute.

Bolivian Marching Powder Respector 20 January 24 14:08

I am glad I am an attorney somewhere in Southern Europe. Won't make nearly as much as a London-based solicitor but also no risk of some retarded bureaucrat ruining my entire life over a single drunken incident which in any sane society can and will be fixed through a slap in the face and/or a serious conversation.

But then, it's the UK: Lutherans, alcoholics and pirates (or all three of them combined). What do you expect other than hypocrisy and overreaction? 



Anon 20 January 24 14:17

Why are people keep posting about Womble. That is a separate matter. With fregards to this Gordon fella, he is obviously in the wrong and deserves his punishment. I am sorry but law firms are not old gentleman clubs where male lawyers feel it is appropriate to inappropriately touch their female colleagues and think they can get away with it. If it was any other profession, a similar standard would apply. We need to encourage women like these to stand up and voice their concerns. Gordon you animal. 

Anonymous 20 January 24 23:27

Anon @14.17

Absolutely - when merited.

When not merited, accepting of course that all we have to go on is the limited amount in this article, it makes a complete mockery of giving real victims a voice. As a couple of other women have said, this just seems to be wokeness gone mad. 

To ban a guy from a career for touching a thigh on a piss up? If that’s all it was (‘if’ being emphasised), it’s absurd. 

The SRA has turned into a puritanical parody and should do us all a favour and itself the fvck out.

If anything isn’t representative of the profession, it’s those damp-skinned herberts.

#vicitim 21 January 24 13:46

Male senior lawyer here - was sitting at firm Xmas party when it became obvious that the (very drunk) PA to my right who is usually very shy and soft spoken was pressing hard against me and nudging a foot up and down my leg under the table whilst attempting to flirt with me, though she was slurring a lot and clearly inebriated. 

Do you think I:

A - slapped her away and shouted at her loudly so that everyone knew I wouldn’t accept this kind of behaviour at a work event

B - said nothing but then raised this with HR to trigger a disciplinary and her eventual resignation 

C - behaved like any normal adult and made an excuse to brush it off and move on in the knowledge she’d wake up mortified.

I wanted sexual advances are never okay but there needs to be some proportionality applied and the SRA isn’t applying this test.

Lord Lester 21 January 24 19:38

Anonymous 21 January 24 12:13 - no, Gordon and I will get on because we were both found to have made non-consensual sexual advances to a woman!

3-ducks 22 January 24 11:16


@Anon (19 Jan 10:14) "a police matter"? Seriously, have a word with yourself.

Anonymous 22 January 24 11:28

@#Victim - I have no idea how you can think that a charming anecdote about how you met your wife could possibly be relevant here? History's greatest monster is at large in a wine bar and all you can do is spout uninvited anecdotes about how you were lucky enough to marry a woman ten years your junior, who gets hornier than a goat after just a single drink, and is perfectly happy being ordered around by a lawyer all day. Can you please read the room, tell us which firm we need to join in order to go to a Christmas party like that, and then let us all get back to the important business of being righteously outraged about a man standing too close to a woman in a crowded bar.

Anon 22 January 24 15:35

These sorts of cases are being cracked down on now. Sorry for the people who are clearly scared by this because they are worried THEY could be on the wrong side of this (LOL - no sympathy for you at all). Sexual harassment at work shouldn't be tolerated and the SRA should crack down. All large law firms have clear policies on exactly how a person should conduct themselves so sorry, but I don't buy all the comments about this being a grey area yadda yadda boohoo.

Anon 22 January 24 17:28

We've all played tonsil hockey with a colleague in a bar or nightclub after a few too many drinks.

There but for the grace of God go any of us.

anon 22 January 24 17:51

Anon 22 January 24 17:28 - that's OK, provided it is consensual, which in Gordon's case it was not.

Lord Lester 23 January 24 09:58

Anonymous 22 January 24 19:42 - not true, sadly. The BSB had no jurisdiction to interfere with the findings of the House of Lords that I sexually harassed Ms Sanghera and offered her a peerage in exchange for sex; and the House of Lords found that the process which resulted in those findings was fair. 

Judge Schwebel 24 January 24 16:57

I’ve had sex with a few colleagues. Sometimes in the office, sometimes not. What’s the big deal? 

Anonymous 24 January 24 23:45

Heh @ the comments defending this chap with suspiciously similar syntax.  You're fooling no-one, m6.

Anon 25 January 24 22:53

Absurd…. Poor young guy loses his job over a mistake - fine. Now they’re trying to ruin his life? Move on… pathetic. 

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