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:
@City - the SRA won't take action, and wouldn't be expected to.
13th @ 20.00 - probably many false ones.
15th @ 20.50 - doubt anyone is stamping their feet except no answer woman, seeing as there was no finding of bad behaviour l.
15 @ 20.51 (aka City) - not the right result, and not inevitable
15th @ 20.53 - that is a false allegation. Unfortunately false allegations are extremely common when it comes to sexual harassment.
15th @ 21.02 - all the misandry displayed
15th @ 21.31 - what questions?
Ton this B
Anon 15 June 22 20:53 is right. Question Man is a sinister person with a disturbing pathology.
@14.36 - too late
@Worried - if you think asking questions to get to the truth is sinister and disturbing then its sounds like the one who is sinister and disturbing is you!
More feet stomping by Question Man because he does not like the fact that Ince found the lawyers to have behaved badly.
Interesting article. It looks as if the SRA will take action. They certainly should do.
It is telling that Question Man has been asked to provide examples of the many false allegations he alleges but has not done so. He is quick to ask for evidence from others but does not apply that stricture to himself. This shows that he acts in bad faith.
Glad that Ince took action. Solicitors cannot behave in this way.
Bad behaviour of this sort rightly has consequences. The treatment of the waitress is particularly egregious. Good to see Ince take action. The SRA will definitely get involved.
It’s solicitors who behave like this who put people off joining the profession. Arrogant and entitled.
Moving offshore is the end of all professional dignity.
All we can hear from Question Man at the moment is the sound of his stomping feet!
Anonymous 16 June 22 01:58: what misandry displayed?