A disgruntled IT worker at Watson, Farley & Williams has pranked IT bosses by swapping their names around on emails.

The settings of emails from Nick Jenner, the new consultant in charge if the IT team, were changed so that it appeared to be sent by another, female, senior employee. “The IT team have found it funny to show their leader off as a woman”, said a source. It is not clear whether the gag/bullying is ongoing, but RollOnFriday was provided with an example from last week. The woman's name has been redacted.


Jenner was previously in charge of IT at Ince & Co before the insurance firm ran aground. He took over at WFW as a consultant last year after David Wood, who had run the IT team for two and a half years, left in November. 

The firm has not yet identified the prankster(s), but it sounds like several staff have cause. Sources said the IT team was frustrated on a variety of fronts. "Unlimited funds for day rate contractors, rather less for salaried staff", said one source. "Spend vast sums on consultants to replace your IT director, hire new one, spend vast sums on a consultant to replace him too", said another. 

"Not content with dragging their IT team through hell over recent years with indecision and hemorrhaging money on projects that go nowhere", said an insider, "they now have announced that the three oldest members of their IT team are to be targeted for redundancy".

Ageism is a hot topic at WFW, where a former partner, Mark Prevezer, is currently suing the firm for £300,000. The 63-year-old claims that older partners were “gradually and reluctantly manoeuvred” into becoming consultants, and then compelled to take premature retirement.


The WFW IT team, hard at work.

A spokesman for WFW told RollOnFriday that three IT roles were at risk of redundancy as part of a restructuring. "New roles are, however, being created and the overall size of the team is increasing", he said, adding that targeted staff could apply for the new jobs.

Of course the IT department has more run-of-the-mills grumbles, too. "Why yes, Mr Very Important Fee Earner", wrote one WFW IT worker in the Firm of the Year 2019 survey, "your issue listening to a podcast is absolutely an emergency, and worth making a fuss about at 3am".

Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 17 May 19 09:16

WFW is going down the toilet. Dreadful culture, sinking financials, mediocre remuneration, law suits from every man and his dog.

ITPleb 17 May 19 11:58

They should have setup audit & controls to dissuade anyone in IT from doing this, as they would be identified. Sounds like IT can make changes to email accounts effectively anonymously and with impunity.

So if anyone at WFW is currently in hot water regarding an email they've been accused of sending, they have a strong defence to say they didn't do it, someone else must have accessed my email account.  Ditto with any IT service, including dubious web browsing.

WFW Clients should take note too - Your emails to WFW are not secure.

ITPleb misses the point 17 May 19 13:43

The article and screenshot show the email wasnt spoofed - it came from the person who actually sent it!!  No-one had hacked anyone's email account you can plainly see its just an IT person putting Nick's picture in instead of their own. 

Out of the box  this is something a user can change easily in outlook/skype for business or if using AD its part of the user record so there is little the audit logs will tell you other than to confirm that the user did it themselves....which looks from the article as if that's exactly what they have done.

Besides - audit tools don't stop it happening - just tell you it happened, when and who did it.

Dont make this out to be something it isnt, whoever you are.

Happy at WFW 17 May 19 14:20

Not everybody thinks WFW is going down the toilet. I happen to really like working here. There are loads of great people, some innovative, hard working partners (not all, granted, but that's no different from anywhere else), they put on plenty of charity and social events and subsidise all the sports teams, the offices are nice, and the staff restaurant is competitively price.

So they may not pay the highest salaries but not everything in life is about money. Some people prefer a congenial place to work with a good work/life balance.

And after all, aren't we all volunteers? We are all free to go and work somewhere else any time we like, which is what I would recommend 'Anonymous' above go and do as quickly as possible.

Your name 17 May 19 14:54

Stunningly unprofessional and what`s funny about having a woman as a boss anyway? The team/people involved in this should be a) sacked and b) ashamed of themselves. Audits and controls may well be in place but they will all be controlled by the IT team. I am genuinely shocked people would behave like this.

ITPleb 17 May 19 15:19

The photo is stored in AD/Azure AD as you say.  AD Changes are restricted and write events can be audited and collected, doesn't matter if it came from Outlook, Skype or by an IT admin tool.

It identifies the source account that made the change (ie Rogue IT Person), not just the target account (Senior Female Employee), and then you can track back to see where the change was made from (name of PC, for example). 

My point is that someone in IT had some fun because they knew there is no auditing set-up, which is a dead canary in the mine for lax IT security practice. 

I've had to investigate a lot of people for bad behaviour in law firms, including IT departments, but you have to get the auditing setup before you need to investigate.

Ex WFW 17 May 19 23:32

"Not everybody thinks WFW is going down the toilet." 

This comment is so blatantly from someone in WFW's senior management feebly trying to do damage control.

Anonymous 19 May 19 08:47

Some people prefer a congenial place to work with a good work/life balance.

You mean the worst culture in the City and getting flogged for below market salary? Highly congenial and balanced.

Emily_P 20 May 19 07:35

“The firm has plenty of skeletons in it’s closet but don’t all law firms?”  Pretty much all firms have skeletons on some sort - mostly run of the mill but some are a lot worse. I’m sure WFW is no different from the rest

Look Upwards 22 May 19 07:40

The managing partners seem to think they are above it all but maybe they should look closer to home for the source of this firm's woes. 

Ex-employee 22 May 19 09:54

Having left WFW, I have now realised what a sh1t show it is. Here is the root of all WFW's problems.... Too partner heavy, with salaried partners and associates being given too much work and put under too much pressure for what they get paid. Salaried partners doing the donkey work for equity partners. Evidence - Unprecedented churn of staff over the past few years. 

Still at WFW 24 May 19 07:06

Hopefully the firm isn’t going down the toilet as many predict. There are still a lot of people committed to WFW and who want it to succeed. The firm has just announced that it has created a working group to look at culture in the London office and how it does things so that it can learn from its mistakes and put things right for future growth. This is a step in the right direction at last. Hopefully it isn’t too little too late and hopefully it isn’t just lip service from the partners to try to stem the recent bad publicity. Time will tell.

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