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.
Taken to a dreadful dinner by your panel lawyers? If you're in-house, spill in the survey:
They sound like my sort of people! Give them all peerages!
Why do you want to peer at them for ages?
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.
Where’s the unreserved apology?!
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!
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.
Can’t comment until seen Sue Gray’s report
Awful behaviour. Hopefully, the matter will be referred to the SRA and appropriate sanctions imposed.
The matter has already been referred to the SRA.
Such behaviour brings the profession into disrepute.
Iran-Contra —-> Ince-Cora
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.
@Big Dog - for what?
@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?
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.
"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.
Thanks Al Jolson @ 9.38 - in other words you have precisely no idea if what the accusations are.
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.
@9.40 - doesn't surprise me given the high incidence of false allegations.
MC Question Man 10 June 22 09:38: perfectly captures everyone’s favourite sociopath.
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 09:49: yes and it is so deliciously fitting that the odious and ludicrous Question Man should end up as a figure of fun.
"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?
@Hackaforte - well you'd expect some investigation before making accusations. Sorry if that gets in the way of a witchunt.
@9.47 - that'ok, wouldnt be the first time you got it wrong. When did the SRA start 'convicting' people? What professional misconduct?
@9.49, 9.56 - why do you think asking questions to support allegations is sociopathic, odious, ludicrous and fun?
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?
@9.59 - why do you want to peer at them for ages?
@Rational mind - may have been bad behaviour, we simply don't know. Nobody has lost their job over it.
What are you, an ENEMY of the PEOPLE?!
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.
Anon 10 June 22 09:56 - brilliant and spot on!
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!
@10.27 - I know, getting in the way of a good witchunt. How terrible!
This publicity is bad for business. Why aren't the findings public?
@10.47 - how do you know it was found to be 'boorish' by Ince. We don't know that.
Anonymous Anonymous 10 June 22 11:03: yes, very bad publicity for Ince.
@10.48 - what is?
"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!
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.
@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?
Anonymous 10 June 22 10:56: what witch hunt?
@10.07 - 'once' bigger than?
Anonymous 10 June 22 09:48: which false allegations?
Changing my name 10 June 22 10:07
Having the surname Beech doesn't do you too much harm at Knights....
@11.03 - exactly, and why didn't tbe restaurant do an investigation?
@11.20 - yes, and for the restaurant
@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.
@11.22 - Hackaforte's
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:
“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!
@11.31 - the ones that there are a high incidence of
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 13:15: please provide examples of such alleged false accusations.
Anonymous 10 June 22 13:11: why bad for business for the restaurant?
@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.
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.
@12.28 - how come?
@12.28 - what evidence do you have that anyone at the firm "Knights" has the surname Beech?
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?
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.
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.
@15.08 - what false accusations?
@15.09 - why are you questioning why it would be bad for business for the restaurant but not bad for business for Ince?
@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.
@15.12 - are you talking to me?
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.
@16.03 - exactly, and if there is, what evidence is there that it doesn't do too much harm?
@16.07 - you tell us, its your witchunt!
@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.
@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?
@16.55 - are you auditioning for a film?
@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!
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
It is to be hoped the SRA take action.
Anonymous 10 June 22 18:50: you are still stomping your feet because you do not like it that Ince found bad behaviour.
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.
@10.15 - what behaviour?
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?
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.”
11th June @ 7.57 - there is no chance of thd SRA getting involved in this.
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.
@ 10 June 1840 - I didn't know I had a witch hunt until you told me I did!
@ 12 June 09:46
The SRA will stand back and leave it to the professionals: The BSB.
Who will clear the accused all wrongdoing.
Just like God intended.
Anon 11 June 22 10:15 - yeah, spot on.
Anon 11 June 22 07:57: that would be the right result, and it is almost inevitable.
I wonder just how many complaints of sexual harassment Question Man has been subject to?
11th @ 7.22 - apologies for the misandry.
11th, 8.48 - doubt anyone is stamping their feet seeing as no bad behaviour was found.
11th @ 14.17 - no they didn't, because as you say on 10th @ 16.15 the committee didn't make any findings.
@Gobblepig - yes, it was very convincing.
@Hackaforte 13th June 8.23 - yes you did. Now you need to tell us what kind of witch hunt you had.
Who did the restaurant hire to investigate the allegations?
Anonymous 13 June 22 23:45: exactly, the House of Lords found Lester had harassed a woman and abused his position.
Question Man is still stomping his feet because Ince found that the lawyers had behaved badly.
City 13 June 22 19:33: correct.
Anonymous 13 June 22 20:00: not just allegations. From his behaviour, he was guilty. The bad faith nonsense is what psychologists call deflection.
Anonymous 13 June 22 23:42: what misandry?
Anonymous 14 June 22 07:22: they hired me. I then chased them around the kitchen and groped them!
@20.00 - I will ask the questions around here, thank you very much.
13th @ 19.32 - what was?