shiraz phone

Shiraz noticed DWF had given him a much less desirable phone than other partners.

DWF's former Managing Partner in the Middle East is suing the firm for £360,000 over allegedly unpaid performance bonuses, and because it hasn't yet cancelled his expensive corporate mobile phone plan.

Shiraz Sethi was DWF's Head of Employment as well as its regional Managing Partner from 2018 until 2020, when he left the firm and became a Senior Legal Consultant at Dentons. He previously worked at Stephenson Harwood, where he acted for David Haigh when the controversial former Leeds United boss was imprisoned in Dubai.

Under Sethi's alleged arrangement with DWF, if a client instructed the firm because Sethi introduced them, he was to be awarded 10% of fees billed between £300k to £500k, an additional 15% of fees billed between £500k and £750k, and 20% of fees billed over £750k, capped at AED 700,000 (approximately £140,000) per year.

Sethi alleges that after two years of friction-free bonus payments, the firm closed its wallet when he left the firm in January 2020. DWF only paid him £30k and a £20k exit bonus, Sethi claims, and when he sent "numerous follow-up emails" asking for more money the firm ghosted him, leaving him "most unhappy and offended".

The dispute centers around the unseemly jockeying which takes place between partners trying to win the credit for bringing in matters, which enables them to rack up additional payments and equity points.

According to Sethi's claim in the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts, on one occasion banking partners took credit for an instruction which he originated. Citing a rather long chain of causation, Sethi alleges that he was responsible for the initial introduction between a contact at a management consultancy and James Fox, DWF's Managing Partner of Dubai, over golf, which led to the management consultancy subsequently suggesting DWF to a private equity firm as a potential advisor, which then decided to engage the firm on a matter.

Sethi is also suing because he has been unable to transfer his mobile phone number from DWF's corporate plan back to a personal plan. His claim states that he "continues to be charged fees at the corporate plan rate, which he is unable to amend or reduce", a situation which a firm definitely wouldn’t drag its feet over just to wind up an ex-partner.

RollOnFriday was unable to confirm whether Sethi also took action against Stephenson Harwood after he left the firm in 2017, as his lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

A spokesperson for DWF said, "As this is an ongoing matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time".

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Anonymous 19 November 21 09:20

DWF is in trouble because it can’t keep decent staff. There’s a stampede to leave because other firms have realised DWF is very slow to promote and pays peanuts. 

However this guy does sound like a tool.

Anonymous 19 November 21 09:45

Not the only employment dispute DWF is caught up in at the moment.  See Gazette for more details. 

Insider 19 November 21 10:53

DWF is not a happy ship at the moment.  We’ve had an exodus of fee earners because of poor promotion prospects and low pay.  

That’s forced the firm into knee jerk hires. Expect more stories like this. 

Trainee 19 November 21 11:00

a few years ago a partner gave her friend a training contract. The friend then sued the firm

Anon 19 November 21 14:03

Jimbo hamilton, ask the dwf comms about the current employment case against it. Why didn’t you write an article about it

Anonymous 19 November 21 14:47

Having read about the other employment claim it seems the chap will fall down on causative link. It seems the court has hinted that they could treat him badly but on his pleaded claim he has to demonstrate it was related to his wife's disability. 

Client 21 November 21 06:40

I've instructed Shiraz on several matters over the years and he's a very good lawyer and a nice guy as well.

I have no doubt that he is getting shafted (English law firms in the Middle East are notorious for this), and there's nothing wrong with asserting your rights. 

Have a read of Norris Ghaleb Qtaishat v DWF LLP (QFC Branch): "It is faintly suggested in the Defendant’s response that they are not within the jurisdiction of this Court. It is impossible to understand how they can put this matter into dispute... the Defendant is described on its own letterhead as “DWF LLP (Qatar Branch)"!

THE DWF SALE 22 November 21 10:16

Discover the huge range of Directors and Senior Associates on sale at DWF.  Our sale runs until Snige and his mates realise that paying 50% below the market rate and limiting to promotion to 6 people a year is wrecking the firm. Other firms welcome to pick the phone up to our staff and offer them better terms until then. Be quick, stock running out quickly. 

Anonymous 23 November 21 19:19

I was bought in the sale. Firms that promote well and pay well, do well. Those who don’t, don’t. 

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