Lawyers have spoken up about sexual predators at their firms.
Last week RollOnFriday published allegations that K&L Gates had let down female members of staff who had complained that a partner in the London office had sexually harassed them.
Following that story, multiple sources, who wish to remain anonymous, accused another K&L Gates partner of sexual misconduct. They claimed the lawyer, who works in a European office, had a previous history of "sex scandals" before being recruited by K&L Gates as a partner. One source claimed he seemed to be "untouchable" and that he was still continuing his "Harvey-style behaviour".
And in London a former student said that during her vacation scheme at K&L Gates, a partner "offered to give me a training contract if I agreed to have sex with him that evening". The firm did not respond to a request for comment.
|Welcome drinks were a bit unnerving.|
More lawyers shared their experiences via email, comments and on the RollOnFriday discussion board. While many reported that they had enjoyed a molestation-free career, others said they had not been so lucky:
"I reported an indecent assault which was probably attempted rape by a partner to HR in 2001. I was given training on how to manage the partner in question in a better way going forward."
"[Partner at large UK firm] is a seriously dangerous sexual predator, who loves to abuse his position of power and authority. Everyone in the partnership knows it"."I've only been aware of 2 instances in over 20 years, when I was a trainee (1) disgusting partner tried to rape an associate at an off-site...she was in pieces but thankfully would not let it go and he was eventually sacked (had form apparently) (2) senior partner brazenly caressed the @rse of a very attractive associate, twice, at a Christmas party (beginning of the evening). I asked her why she didn't slap him or report him and she said she'd had worse before becoming a lawyer and it just wasn't worth the hassle.""There was a partner in my old team who never spoke to me, unless I had a female trainee, in which case he'd show up regularly at around 5 o'clock with need of 'an extra body for a late night urgent bit of work'. Sleazy fucker, but nothing was ever done about it.""I have...been belittled in a professional context in a way that would never happen to a man, told that blatantly misogynist clients just have to be endured, quite obviously passed over for opportunities which blokes get offered, and generally heard some awful things said. While women don’t get equal opportunities and treatment, harassment and abuse of power will also continue.""I don’t think any woman I know thinks anything has improved since we started working. The same things are still being said - 'in 20 years time, the dinosaurs will be gone and all will be better'. I don’t see that much has changed in the last 20 years so I genuinely doubt it...""We all know the Weinsteins of the legal industry in the City. There are a fair few of them. Each one of us may not know all but we know at least one and then some more. "
"The time I was in a partner's office and, during a conference call with a client, he leered at me, pulled out his penis and started masturbating like it was no big deal. I quit soon after. I would say that incident was a contributory factor.""At my first firm, 10 years ago, the real estate head and his sidekick (both married) were each sh@gging their secretaries. This was not only not hidden, but at client drinks said secretaries would be invited and said partners would snog them in front of their clients. At said drinks, fit trainee girls would also be invited, plied continuously with drink and then propositioned by either the partners or their clients who knew that this 'entertainment' was being supplied for their kicks. I was a trainee bloke at the time, and incredibly it was so brazen that it actually seemed normal.""A couple of us in my trainee intake were harassed by a female partner. Whilst neither of us felt threatened, we both stopped attending dept drinks to avoid getting into an awkward situation which might have hindered our careers. I needn't have worried tbh as my inability to carry out any tasks to the required standard and in the necessary time frames were probably the more likely reasons for my lack of career progression.""One partner at my old firm who basically had had sex with half the women at the firm. If you wanted an easy life in his dept, there was one way to guarantee it.""I’ve had senior female partners and consultants say to me (knowing full well what was going on) 'Oh he’s lonely', 'Just play the game', 'If you can’t handle the heat...', 'You need a thicker skin'.""I had a partner offer to make me a partner in his team if I became his mistress. Considering that I was only 4 years PQE at this point I was never going to buy that. He also told me one day in a meeting in his office that it was his fantasy to take me into Prada and pay to dress me up like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and then treat me like his whore."
That partner appears to have joined in the discussion:
"When I was in PP we had a strict selection criteria when instructing Counsel. Let's be honest. If you are going to spend 3 days sat behind someone in Court at least you want a decent arse to look at."