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"Ho ho...No"


An ex-Dentons trainee who sent a crude Christmas card to a fellow trainee has successfully appealed a rebuke from the SRA.

'Mr F'*, who joined Dentons as a trainee in 2018, gave a Christmas card to a female trainee, 'KB'. Mr F wrote in the card that he would give KB a vibrator as a gift for a "proper buzz", and signed off: "Wishing a sexy Yorkshire babe a great Christmas. Love Adam xxx". Mr F also sent texts to KB with sexually suggestive language.

KB was not impressed by the Yuletide oscillating offering, and reported Mr F to Dentons. He had previously been given a warning by the firm for making inappropriate comments to secretaries at an office party. 

The SRA investigated Mr F's crass Christmas card, and an officer initially recommended a £2,000 fine. However, the SRA adjudicator downgraded this to a rebuke.

Mr F, representing himself, appealed the decision to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, arguing that his actions were a private matter, and did not relate to his role at the firm. He said that he gave the card to his fellow trainee as he was leaving the office to go home, while both trainees were "off duty". He also claimed that KB had shown him some romantic interest. 

Mr F cited the ruling in the Ryan Beckwith case, where the High Court cleared the former Freshfields partner of misconduct, as it drew a distinction between behaviour which affects an individual's reputation, and the reputation of the profession. 

The tribunal described Mr F's conduct as "deeply inappropriate and disgraceful" and said he had tarnished "his own reputation." However, it ruled that the SRA had taken the "wrong approach" in the interpretation of the Beckwith case.

The SDT said that the SRA adjudicator was wrong to assume that the matter was automatically connected to Mr F's professional life and not his private life, just because the misconduct had occurred in a work setting. There was nothing to suggest that the adjudicator "had considered there was evidence which linked" Mr F's giving of the Christmas card "to the provision of legal services," said the tribunal.

The tribunal allowed Mr F's appeal and revoked the rebuke by the SRA.

Mr F no longer works at Dentons. A spokesman at the firm declined to comment on the matter. 

Other lawyers have also marked the most wonderful time of the year, with some seasonal smut.

*this story was amended 16 Jan 2024 to anonymise Mr F at his request, out of the goodness of ROF's hearts.

Tip Off ROF

Comments

Anonymous 10 December 21 08:58

There must be half a million single women in the city. If one gives you the hint she isn't interested then move onto the next.

This was weak behaviour.

Only thing I agreed with the guy about in the published decision is that a bad work party is less enjoyable than staying at home and having a Tommy tank. 

Harvey III 10 December 21 09:03

Good - being awkward with girls isn’t and never was a disciplinary matter 

Anonymous 10 December 21 09:06

He didn't 'get off, it was outside of the SRA's remit. In the same way as the somewhat puritanical musings of the SDT.

Bucking Rogers 10 December 21 09:22

One might interpret RollOnFriday’s use of ‘get off’ as a double entendre, my innocent young friend. 

Anon 10 December 21 09:28

One wonders whether getting the rebuke withdrawn was worth the extra press his actions have got...

Anonymous 10 December 21 09:35

@Bucking Rogers - I never thought about people 'getting off on reading the story. Good job the less innocent of us can set us straight!

Anonymous 10 December 21 09:38

@8.58 - I think the problem in this case was that he wasn't given the hint until after he gave the card, not before.

Question Man 10 December 21 09:52

Can we be sure that this event, so called 'Christmas', ever really took place?

Lydia 10 December 21 09:53

He certainly was very silly. Don't mix work and social stuff if you can help it. If they were in a relationship and she had not said get lost then I suppose it was okay but it was a dangerous act and he should have known better.  Note to men  - this is not the way to women's hearts. Buy her a box of chocolate or flowers instead and that will go down better.

Anon 10 December 21 10:03

It’s one of life’s cruel paradoxes that has been the downfall of many great men: “How do I know that my advances are unwanted until I’ve made them”

Jay’s Dad 10 December 21 10:09

Cheer up lad, at least you had a pop

Question Woman 10 December 21 10:10

@9.52 - it is good that you now realise the importance of asking questions and keeping an open mind. This will prove useful when studying for a degree.

In this case, there is no dispute as to whether Christmas took place. A more pertinent question would be why did the SRA ignore Beckwith and can they confirm they won't do so again?

Sir Woke XR Remainer FBPE MBE 10 December 21 10:37

Impossible to see why anyone ever thought this was a relevant matter for professional discipline.

Anonymous 10 December 21 11:57

Beta male behaviour making a love declaration.

I ain't chasin' them, I'm replacin' em. 

Informed Observer 10 December 21 12:29

The SRA and SDT are covering up very serious misconduct by Dentons in this case.

Funny how no one has focused on paragraph 27.2: "The Appellant submitted that the Firm’s investigation was systemically flawed and dishonest."

Dentons have form on this: https://www.rollonfriday.com/news-content/sra-prosecute-dentons-hr-cover

Anonymous 10 December 21 12:53

Hi Adam (@"Informed Observer"12:29...)

Were there any findings as to whether the Denton investigation was "systematically flawed and dishonest" or was that just your submission....?

Anonymous 10 December 21 13:17

@11.57 - and therein lies the problem. If he had been more alpha she probably wouldn't have complained. Too many of these complaints are about who did something rather than what they did.

Cmon Rof 10 December 21 13:42

no need to name him - its a private matter. 

Off the clock 10 December 21 14:24

So the Beckwith case is now a precedent for why it's ok to be a creepy deviant as long as it's outside office hours.

Anonymous 10 December 21 15:01

@Lydia - lots of people socialise with colleagues.

I don't think she did tell him to get lost or otherwise complain until he gave her the card, so I can see how he might not have known better.

Anonymous 10 December 21 17:18

@Off the clock - and thank goodness for it!

Anonymous 10 December 21 18:08

@Off the clock - no, the Beckwith case was the SRA getting its bum smacked for trying to tell consenting adults what to do in their own time. Consenting adults aren't 'creepy deviants'.

Anon 10 December 21 20:51

Question Woman 10 December 21 10:10: where is your evidence that Christmas took place?

Nick 10 December 21 20:55

This event didn’t happen. Christmas didn’t happen either. It was postponed. And I have not seen sufficient evidence that the Beckwith case was ever really decided. 

Anonymous 11 December 21 09:29

Funny how everyone who uses the word "alpha" in this context is inevitably a tosser.

It's also disconcerting that some commenters seem to think telling someone you want to give her a vibrator is a good way to court someone.

He could have spoken to her at any time, invited her out for dinner or lunch or even a coffee, used work as a reason to spend some time together and test the waters, try to build a rapport.

Instead he used a work Christmas card as an excuse to send a dirty message.

He's got a lot of growing up to do and it may be that he's stuck in his ways forever and the next time we hear his name is in reference to a sexual offences hearing in a magistrates court.

Anonymous 11 December 21 13:12

Anon 10 December 21 20:51 - no evidence is needed that Christmas took place as there is no dispute. It is good that you appreciate the value of evidence, but it is important to understand when it is required and when it isn't.

Nobody has been accused of not knowing its Christmas time at all. There's no need to be afraid.

Flick 11 December 21 13:14

It isn't disputed that the event happened. It is the context which is open to question. It isn't disputed that Christmas happened. It isn't disputed that Beckwith was cleared.

Anonymous 11 December 21 14:57

@9.29 - although of course not much weight is to be placed on the judgement of those who label people 'tossers' because they use the word 'alpha'.

From the case it seems they both engaged in a relationship with some sexual banter and he thought she would have received thd card as a joke. He was guilty of misjudgement but not much else. They had already spent time together and had a rapport, including conversation with sexual references (or as you call it, 'dirty').

It isn't clear whether he needs to grow up, she does, or indeed people who think sex is 'dirty' do.

Lol at conflating this with something which could come before the magistrates when its just been thrown out by the Regulator.

 

Anonymous 11 December 21 17:34

Adam sounds like one of those guys who assumes that if he fancies a woman then she must reciprocate - even if she doesn't.

One suspects that her alleged romantic interest was demonstrated by not vomiting when he entered the room.

Mind you, if she had vomited he would have told himself it was because she was so excited by his proximity.

After all, someone who sexually harasses the secretaries makes himself irresistible.

Anonymous 11 December 21 17:47

Don't stalk someone until she "gives you the hint she isn't interested".

Be friendly and non-sexual until she gives you a clear indication that she is interested.

All that pick-up artist inspired crap will do is get you a restraining order, a bad reputation, a ruined career and quite possibly some gaol time.

Anonymous 11 December 21 23:10

@ Anonymous 11 December 21 14:57

Hi Adam

You're the only person who has suggested there was any sexual banter.

Clearly it was all in your mind.

You can tell because when you said something explicit she sent it to the authorities and complained.

Toby GreenlordSuckMyMassiveCockJustJoking 11 December 21 23:17

Some people might think that someone who has been reprimanded for making inappropriate comments to secretaries at an office party might lack impulse control and the sensitivity to notice when he is being rebuffed.

I couldn't possibly comment.

Anonymous 12 December 21 19:18

11th @ 17.34 - from the report on the case it seems they engaged in sexual banter and he thought she was interested in him (she may have been at one point). He may have misjudged the situation, but he didn't invent it.

There is no suggestion that he 'sexually harassed' secretaries.

Anon 12 December 21 21:31

Anonymous 11 December 21 13:12; Flick 11 December 21 13:14: I do not accept that Christmas or the Beckwith case happened. Evidence, please.

Anon 12 December 21 21:36

It is very telling that evidence has been asked for to support the allegation that Christmas and the Beckwith case happened, but that no such evidence has been provided. We can only conclude that neither Christmas nor Beckwith happened.

Jem 12 December 21 21:53

I do not accept that Beckwith was cleared. Evidence, please.

Anon 13 December 21 04:52

Anonymous 10 December 21 12:53: nobody is doubting that the Dentons investigation was systematically flawed and dishonest.

Anonymous 13 December 21 07:20

He obviously thought she was interested.

He certainly didn't 'stalk' her, and this shows the problem with naming people in cases like this - they end up subject to all sorts of wild accusations.

We don't (yet) give out 'restraining orders' or 'jail time' for sending Christmas cards.

Anonymous 13 December 21 10:06

"All that pick-up artist inspired crap will do is get you a restraining order, a bad reputation, a ruined career and quite possibly some gaol time."

Except for all the times that it works and gets you a smashing night with that cute paralegal in Banking who is really into spin classes and wiggling round the office in brightly covered lycra while talking about her planned spin class that evening from about four pm each afternoon.

 

Which is just a very general example and I'm not talking about anyone in particular's personal circumstances.

Anonymous 13 December 21 11:00

@Toby 21st @ 23.17 - I think you just did comment.

What were the 'inappropriate comments'? We're not aware of any.

Anonymous 13 December 21 11:03

@ Anonsojemotoby - it is good that you now realise the importance of evidence. The evidence of Beckwith being cleared is the High Court decision clearing him. Are you saying he wasn't cleared?

What is your evidence that Christmas didn't happen?

Do you know its Christmas time at all?

Anonymous 13 December 21 11:05

13th @ 4.52 in the morning - clearly Anonymous 10 December 21 12:53 doubts the investigation is flawed.

Anonymous 13 December 21 13:45

Anonymous 11 December 21 23:10 - 

Hi KB

Actually, the report of the case shows you engaging in sexual banter. You can't now claim it was a figment of imagination.

Why did you complain exactly?

Anonymous 13 December 21 17:51

It's obvious a bunch of women at the same firm complained about him because they all wanted him so much.

He was probably such a great lover that after he'd seduced them all their powerful desire for him frightened them and they had to get away from him before their passion drove them all mad.

Or maybe he was a repulsive t--t.

You choose.

Anonymous 13 December 21 18:56

Except for all the times that it works and gets you a smashing night with that cute paralegal in Banking who is really into spin classes and wiggling round the office in brightly covered lycra while talking about her planned spin class that evening from about four pm each afternoon.

Which is just a very general example and I'm not talking about anyone in particular's personal circumstances.

A poster of whom it can be fairly said no sock is ever left uncrusted.

Anonymous 13 December 21 20:38

F*** me - he sent a smutty Xmas card on the back of some obviously filthy prior banter. That’s it. It really wasn’t - “deeply inappropriate and disgraceful”. He just misread the vibes. I wish the SRA would dish out these moralising puritanical epithets to all those seedy partners groping and harassing juniors and getting away with it. Really doesn’t help to conflate the two situations. 
 

 

Anonymous 13 December 21 21:54

Why didn't he say just joking or give a big eye roll and wonder aloud why women don't have a sense of humour.

Girls love that.

They'll forgive you anything if you're funny.

Anonymous 14 December 21 07:26

10th @ 9.28 - it probably was worth it as it has been officially confirmed he didn't break any rules.

Anonymous 14 December 21 10:46

I think it's worked out very well

He can now go back to putting "2 out of 10.  Would not bang." under pictures of models and actresses on the Daily Mail website.

Anonymous 14 December 21 10:55

13th @ 17.51 - probably neither of the two.

As the report of the case makes clear. There was no 'bunch of women complaining about him. One woman did, but she had been engaged in sexualised banter with him. We don't know what changed.

Anonymous 14 December 21 13:48

13th @ 18.56 - doesn't sound as if he needs to encrust socks!

Anonymous 14 December 21 15:58

The idiot left physical evidence.

When I shagged 4 different colleagues in the same office there wasn't a single trace of messages. All drunken fun. 

Rookie.

Anon 15 December 21 05:48

Anonymous 13 December 21 11:05: Anonymous 10 December 21 12:53 does not doubt that the investigation is flawed.

Anonymous 15 December 21 12:28

14th @ 10.46 - and so can she.

Anon 16 December 21 12:16

Anonymous 15 December 21 12:28: no, only he can do that.

Anonymous 16 December 21 12:56

Anon 15 December 21 05:48 - Anonymous 10 December 21 12:53 clearly does doubt that the investigation is flawed.

Jem 16 December 21 13:01

Anonymous 13 December 21 18:56 - spot on.

Toby Greenlord, the Frotter's Friend 16 December 21 19:37

13th @ 18.56 - doesn't sound as if he needs to encrust socks!

Oh Adam.  Everyone knows it's you.  And of course you do.

 

Learn the lesson, grow up and move on.  Otherwise give me a call in a few years.  I've done some big TV licence cases.  I can probably get you off with a flogging when you get caught sniffing bicycle seats.

Anonymous 16 December 21 22:29

This looks like one of those cases which we see a lot where there is a close friendship between the two, with sexual banter between them and where they both fancy each other a bit. She has taken offence with something he has said, perhaps through embarrassment, and tried to play down the previous relationship, using the complaints procedure to do so. It was never a regulatory matter, as has rightfully been decided, and it is not a company disciplinary matter. Some form of mediation is the only way the company could help. I hope they put their differences behind them in the future and get on good terms again, as I think she will be feeling very sorry things went this far.

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