ince reports

The Ince-Cora Affair: possible findings.


"Action has been taken" against Ince staff in relation to allegations they behaved boorishly at a Cardiff restaurant, its Non-executive Chairman has said in an internal email obtained by RollOnFriday.

Ince made headlines for all the wrong reasons in May after Cora's chef, Lee Skeet, tweeted allegations that one of his waitresses was "talked down to, disrespected, and touched unwantedly" by members of a group of Ince staff hosted by Robert Biles, the firm's head of finance.

Biles, who is the father of Ince's Chief Executive, Adrian Biles, and another Ince partner, John Biles, announced his retirement soon after the adverse publicity began rolling in, although the firm said his resignation was unrelated to the scandal.

Non-exec Chair Simon Howard sent an email to staff last week, perfectly timed to get buried in the Jubilee holiday, in which he revealed that Ince commissioned CM Murray, "a firm specialising in partnership matters", to investigate the alleged shenanigans, and that it had finished its "exhaustive" probe. 

"The individuals concerned have been made aware of the findings, and where appropriate, action has been taken", said Howard. "All such accusations, whether public or not, whether substantiated or not, will always be taken seriously by the firm", he said. But, "as is normal practice with all investigations relating to staff or Partner behaviour, the contents of the report will remain confidential".

The report’s secrecy is good news for the Ince management figures rumoured to have been in attendance at the boozy bash, and in particular the staff member understood to have been the main source of the meanspirited banter.

Staff have been assured that although they are being kept entirely in the dark about who did what wrong, they should trust their bosses - perhaps some of the same ones who larged it up at dinner - to lead them towards a kinder, less brash culture at Ince. "We need to understand what broader lessons we can learn as a firm", said Howard, which is a demanding requirement for most Ince staff given they weren't there and haven’t been told what happened.

Carol Ashton, a non-executive director who previously headed up DLA Piper's HR function, has been tapped to lead a review of Ince's policies and training "to ensure that the Ince Group standards of conduct and behaviour are clearly stated and maintained", said Howard.

The firm did not respond to a request for comment.


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Comments

Anonymous 10 June 22 08:55

We'd really need to know exactly what was alleged, what was found to be true, what wasn't, and what action was taken. An investigation with secret findings isn't good, but then neither is no investigation with public findings, like what the restaurant did.

Hackaforte 10 June 22 09:01

@0855

You're right! We must END the tyranny of UNELECTED, UNACCOUNTABLE restauranteurs! Full disclosure is needed! We need times, places, dates, CCTV, sworn testimony, the whole shebang!

Anonymous 10 June 22 09:02

Sounds very much in keeping with the country’s new level of accountability with the benchmark set by No.10. Go away plebs, partners and senior management business here. Get back to tugging those forelocks and be grateful.

Anon 10 June 22 09:08

Awful behaviour. Hopefully, the matter will be referred to the SRA and appropriate sanctions imposed.

Anon 10 June 22 09:14

Depressing to read yet another instance of bad behaviour by solicitors. Seems two minutes since we were hearing about Walmsley and the sanction imposed on him for his conduct. 

Anonymous 10 June 22 09:34

@9.02,9.07,9.08,9.11,9.14 - what sounds in keeping with the country's new level of accountability?, what Sue Gray report?, what behaviour?, who is Walmsley?, what should the SRA be looking into?

MC Question Man 10 June 22 09:38

Yo! Gimme a beat:

 

You say partners in a restaurant have been so rude?

I need evidence for that mad assertion dude!

You can't just try them in the court of TikTok,

You need evidence, juries and a witness dock,

Against their good names you mustn't blaspheme,

These accusations are never quite what they seem!

So the Question Man comes to swing into action,

To your lies I'm the equal and opposite reaction,

Spitting out questions like the Batman's Riddler,

Whenever you suggest someone might be a diddler,

So you want to say something bad about a senior Ince Guy?

Know if you say it to my face then you might just die!

Time to hold the line against Woke oppression,

Stand back and stand clear, Question Man is in session!

 

Brap brap brap!*

 

 

*for the avoidance of doubt, these are simulated machine gun noises of the type that urban music artists are wont to make during the instrumental sections of their various works.

Lord Lester 10 June 22 09:40

"who is Walmsley?"

An individual whose name was unfairly maligned for many years, and who has subsequently been cleared of all wrongdoing by the BSB.

Mc No Answer Woman 10 June 22 09:46

Thanks Al Jolson @ 9.38 - in other words you have precisely no idea if what the accusations are.

Lord Lester 10 June 22 09:47

Lord Lester 10 June 22 09:40: I stand corrected. This fellow Walmsley wasn't cleared by any professional regulator. He was convicted of professional misconduct by the SDT and sanctioned. And he did never and could never come before the BSB, as he is not a barrister.

Rational mind 10 June 22 09:51

Lets look at this sensibly.  Were they drunken, rude, entitled louts? Sure. Shitty behaviour. All day long.

But at the end of the day, does it really warrant this much publicity and haranguing?  Let bygones be bygones.  Pay a bit of compensation money to the restaurant and its staff ("here's 5,000 quid - lets just pretend this didn't happen eh?" *wink*) and we can all move on. 

No need for these fellas to lose their job. I'm sure the money would suit the restaurant staff better than the publicity.

Anon 10 June 22 09:56

Anon 10 June 22 09:49: yes and it is so deliciously fitting that the odious and ludicrous Question Man should end up as a figure of fun.

Lord Lester 10 June 22 09:59

"Pay a bit of compensation money to the restaurant and its staff ("here's 5,000 quid - lets just pretend this didn't happen eh?" *wink*) and we can all move on."

Could they perhaps consider offering a peerage of some sort?

Anonymous 10 June 22 10:03

@Hackaforte - well you'd expect some investigation before making accusations. Sorry if that gets in the way of a witchunt.

Anonymous 10 June 22 10:05

@9.47 - that'ok, wouldnt be the first time you got it wrong. When did the SRA start 'convicting' people? What professional misconduct?

Anonymous 10 June 22 10:07

@9.49, 9.56 - why do you think asking questions to support allegations is sociopathic, odious, ludicrous and fun?

Changing my name 10 June 22 10:07

Biles, who is the father of Ince's Chief Executive, Adrian Biles, and another Ince partner, John Biles

This is incredible.  Are other law firms like this (once bigger than "two men and their PA" style high street firms of course)?  Is being a member of the Biles family a prerequisite for success at Ince?  

Anonymous 10 June 22 10:09

@Rational mind - may have been bad behaviour, we simply don't know. Nobody has lost their job over it.

Anon 10 June 22 10:47

Anonymous 10 June 22 10:09: it was found by Ince to be “boorish” behaviour. Boorish behaviour is bad behaviour. So we know it was bad behaviour.

Lord Lester 10 June 22 10:55

Lord Lester 10 June 22 09:59: happy to arrange for peerages. And they can come to my house, where I'll grope them and chase them around my kitchen!

Lord Lester 10 June 22 11:21

"they can come to my house, where I'll grope them and chase them around my kitchen!"

Not according to the BSB I won't!

Falcon 10 June 22 11:21

It wasn’t necessarily found by Ince to be boorish behaviour. All Ince said was that it took action where appropriate. Although fair to assume that where it did take action, it was due to bad behaviour. 

Anonymous 10 June 22 11:22

@10.55 - why do you want to arrange to peer at them for ages? Who do you want to grope and chase around your kitchen?

Anon 10 June 22 12:28

Changing my name 10 June 22 10:07

Having the surname Beech doesn't do you too much harm at Knights....

Anonymous 10 June 22 13:13

@Falcon - that's true, although we don't know whether the behaviour they took action for was bad because they haven't told us what it was.

Lord Lester 10 June 22 13:15

Lord Lester 10 June 22 11:21: I have just reminded myself that the BSB did not interfere in any way with the findings of the House of Lords that I chased a lady around my kitchen and groped her. 

The Times made that clear:

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/corrections-and-clarifications-lqz3n72pw

“The headline to our article “Lord Lester cleared of peerage-for-sex claims” (News, last week) incorrectly suggested, when read alone, that Ms Jasvinder Sanghera’s complaint to the House of Lords about Lord Lester’s conduct may have been dismissed. The article reported on the outcome of an investigation into Lord Lester by the Bar Standards Board. The findings of an earlier House of Lords committee are unaffected by this ruling. We apologise for any distress caused.”

So once again, peerages all round and come to my house for some kitchen-based groping!

Harassment victim (ex MC) 10 June 22 14:12

Honestly, in comparison to Ince’s approach, certain MC firms are nothing but shambles. Reports about racial discrimination and sexual harassment against senior members/high performers of the firms have resulted in no consequence to the perpetuators and instead forced resignation of the victims (and the exit package required execution of a mutual release subject to confi obligations). The recent dismissal of the entire IT team is genuinely an embarrassment to not only the English legal fraternity but also the Great Britain generally. The senior management should be ashamed. 

Anonymous 10 June 22 15:12

@13.15 - why do you want to peer all around for ages?

Neither The Times, The BSB, or any Committee found that you chased anyone around a kitchen and groped them.

Anon 10 June 22 15:15

Anonymous 10 June 22 13:13: but "we" don't need to know. It is not for Ince to prove anything to us. This is just an article covering a new story. 

Anonymous 10 June 22 16:03

@12.28 - what evidence do you have that anyone at the firm "Knights" has the surname Beech?

Hackaforte 10 June 22 16:07

@13.14

Wait, I get a witchhunt? All of my very own? Is it an English-style one with hangings or a Scottish-style one with burnings? Can I use my own pitchfork? 

Lord Lester 10 June 22 16:12

Anonymous 10 June 22 15:12: the Commissioner made those findings of fact, which were upheld by the Committee and the House of Lords. The BSB did not disturb those findings. The Times accurately  reported on the matter.

 

Anon 10 June 22 16:29

I love the commentaries on RoF, especially those under articles about bad behaviour. What an own goal by “Question Man”. By banging on in bad faith about Lord Lester, not only has he failed to establish Lester’s innocence, but he has ensured that Lester is brought up by others at every opportunity, thus advertising Lester’s misconduct. It is a bit like the photo of Andrew Neil which appears in every edition of Private Eye, in “response” to a letters asking in various ways for pictures of a man of a certain age with a much younger woman. Furthermore, as someone else has mentioned, Question Man’s weird behaviour has now made him the object of open ridicule - which is hardly how you want to be perceived by others.

Anonymous 10 June 22 16:40

@15.09 - why are you questioning why it would be bad for business for the restaurant but not bad for business for Ince?

Anonymous 10 June 22 16:43

@15.15 - we need to know what the behaviour is to know whether it was bad or not. It is for Ince to tell us what the behaviour was and prove that a) it happened and b) it was bad.

No, isn't a new story.

Anon 10 June 22 17:30

Anon 10 June 22 15:15: quite. Question Man is stomping his feet because he doesn’t like the fact that the Ince investigation concluded there had been bad behaviour.

Anonymous 10 June 22 18:34

@16.03 - exactly, and if there is, what evidence is there that it doesn't do too much harm?

Anonymous 10 June 22 18:43

@16.12 - yes, you were wrong @13.15 when you said the House of Lords made a finding. The Commissioner stated her opinion. There was no finding of fact. There were no findings to disturb. The Times accurately reported that he was cleared of all wrongdoing.

Anonymous 10 June 22 18:47

@16.29 - what articles about bad behaviour. This article isn't about bad behaviour. There is no need to establish Lord Lester's innocence as he hasnt been found guilty of anything. The only person keeping bringing up Lord Lester is the person who keeps bringing him up, thus advertising him being cleared by the BSB. What photo of Andrew Neil? What weird behaviour? What open ridicule?

Anonymous 10 June 22 18:50

@17.30 - I doubt anyone would be stomping their feet about bad behaviour since we don't know if there was any bad behaviour. Even 15.15 says they don't know.

Sounds like the only one stamping their feet because they're losing the argument is you!

You lot 11 June 22 07:22

A mate of mine became a lawyer. He was the only kid from our school to go to university. Me and my mates are all dead proud of him and real jelous like cos we all think it must be really cool to be soing a top job and earning good money. But he tells us he hates his job. We all think hes just saying that to make us feel better about our crap jobs. I work in a factory like most of me other mates. But my lawyer mate says no he really doesnt like his job cos hes surrounded by a load of spiteful bell ends. And he told me to have a look at the comments on this website and see what i think. And you know what. Hes dead right. Never come across such a jumped up bunch of miserable toe rags in all me life. You lot dont know how lucky you are. I expect ill get a load a stick off you but guess what. I dont give two flying ***** cos ive got sumthing youll never have. Respect and love for me mates and colleagues. You lot can jog on 

Anon 11 June 22 08:48

Anonymous 10 June 22 18:50: you are still stomping your feet because you do not like it that Ince found bad behaviour.

Anon 11 June 22 10:15

You lot 11 June 22 07:22: I can well understand how you feel when you read of the behaviour of lawyers such as Lord Lester, Walmsley, and these people from Ince. But we are not all like them. Most of us have a genuine respect and consideration for others and hold ourselves to proper professional standards.

Anonymous 11 June 22 13:55

10th @ 14.12

What were the complaints of sexual harassment? How do you know who is the burpetrator and who is the victim based on reports? How many firms dismissed their entire IT teams and what for. Which senior management should be ashamed and what of?

Lord Lester 11 June 22 14:17

Anonymous 10 June 22 18:43: the Times rightly stated that “The findings of an earlier House of Lords committee are unaffected by this ruling.”

Gobblepig 12 June 22 10:23

You lot 11 June 22 07:22: Oi work in a factory loik most me uvver mates, an' Oi roits da way Dick Van Doik speaks, coz dat's wot da British workin' clawss do... And at weekends I get up early in the morning and log onto RollonFriday. 

Anonymous 13 June 22 18:35

@ 12 June 09:46

Quite right.

The SRA will stand back and leave it to the professionals: The BSB.

Who will clear the accused all wrongdoing.

Just like God intended.

Anonymous 13 June 22 20:00

I wonder just how many complaints of sexual harassment Question Man has been subject to?

Anonymous 13 June 22 23:43

11th, 8.48 - doubt anyone is stamping their feet seeing as no bad behaviour was found.

Anonymous 13 June 22 23:45

11th @ 14.17 - no they didn't, because as you say on 10th @ 16.15 the committee didn't make any findings.

Anonymous 14 June 22 07:07

@Hackaforte 13th June 8.23 - yes you did. Now you need to tell us what kind of witch hunt you had.

Anon 15 June 22 20:49

Anonymous 13 June 22 23:45: exactly, the House of Lords found Lester had harassed a woman and abused his position.

Anon 15 June 22 20:50

Question Man is still stomping his feet because Ince found that the lawyers had behaved badly.

Anon 15 June 22 20:53

Anonymous 13 June 22 20:00: not just allegations. From his behaviour, he was guilty. The bad faith nonsense is what psychologists call deflection.

Lord Lester 15 June 22 21:05

Anonymous 14 June 22 07:22: they hired me. I then chased them around the kitchen and groped them!

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