Julian helps a lawyer out of reception.

Ince warned its people not to express an opinion about Russia's invasion, claiming that its listed status prevented it from giving an opinion.

After RollOnFriday published a rundown of firms' responses to the invasion, Senior Partner Julian Clark told Ince staff that, "As a listed company, we need to avoid reference to political matters and maintain conscious as to what we say publicly". The firm refused to comment at the time.

"You will have seen in the legal press how other law firms are reacting to the awful situation that continues to unfold in Ukraine", he said in an email leaked to ROF, but, "At this stage, our stance is to not comment on the situation save in relation to the provision of legal advice and commentary".

"I would urge all of you to keep this in mind when engaging on social media in the firm's name", warned Clarke.

Ince's neutral approach of practising law and not social commentary will meet with approval from lawyers who bridle at firms announcing a stance on current affairs. However, Clark's email suggests the potential for more fees may have been the driving force behind Ince’s dignified silence. "Please note we have preparing [sic] a flyer detailing our war risks and sanctions expertise specifically which have been circulated to the Heads of Departments and Heads of International Offices", he wrote.

Clark specified that Ince's existing Russian clients would be subject to review, while new Russian clients would need to be signed off by the firm's Executive Board, and prospective Russian clients who were subject to sanctions "in any of the jurisdictions in which there is an Ince Group office" were to be referred to Clark personally for approval. "We will observe sanctions fully", he added.

An insider said, "The staff’s interpretation is that the firm will mop up Russian clients from other firms where possible, and has not gone down well". The source said that hardline employees who wanted to expel all Russian clients were "miffed" because "the email does not state that they will not act for Russian clients".

Since 7 March when the email was sent, the firm appears to have decided that the PR benefits of opposing the war outweigh Ince's requirement "as a listed company" to "avoid reference to political matters", as the firm sponsored this week's Law Rocks concert in support of Ukraine, and allowed a band to perform at the show.

law rocks

Public flyer.


Client flyer*

Ince declined to tell RollOnFriday what compelled it to change its stance, and did not respond to a request for comment.

If you've spied any intriguing Russia shenanigans, send RollOnFriday the details.

*as imagined by ROF, the real one probably had a plane on it as well.

Tip Off ROF


Dicker 25 March 22 00:38

Textbook case of a firm trying to sit on the sidelines to protect their bottom line and then pretending to care about the 'awful situation' *Russian invasion of a sovereign state* after realising sticking their heads in the sand is a bad look. Reminds me of those noblemen in the middle ages that would wait out battles and then turn up to help whoever looked like they got the upper hand while claiming they were loyal all along.

Anonymous 25 March 22 03:41

Financially, they are in more trouble than a fluorescent tank with engine trouble on a treeless Ukrainian steppe. Their listed status has enabled them the bullshit investors about their quality hires in a way that would never pass in a partnership.

There is no doubt they would take work from clients who can’t go anywhere else. Desperate times, desperate measures.

Anon 25 March 22 08:50

Is it the case that a Law firm’s ego was so large that it thought it could suppress freedom of speech in a democracy? 

Anon 25 March 22 09:28

I can't help but feel you have to be monumentally stupid to think that, at a time when literally hundreds of blue chips companies, from Nike to McDonalds via Shell don't have a problem with denouncing Russian despite being listed, you think that "we need to be careful what we say about Russia because we're listed" is in any way a smart thing to say.  There's only really two possible reasons you'd say that:

1. You're actually stupid enough to think being listed means you shouldn't take a political stance despite all signals pointing to the contrary.

2. You have so little respect for your staff you think they're that stupid.

Needless to say, neither of those point to Mr Clark being a particularly good leader.

Anonymous 25 March 22 09:37

It's nice of them to point out that they intend to comply with sanctions. I think Ince and P&O would be a PR marriage made in heaven, based on the tone of management. Ince lawyers should look out for sudden redundancies and replacement by Indian lawyers.

I'm sorry but... 25 March 22 10:07

I think it's totally reasonable for a law firm to want to avoid giving the impression of a political stance. I also think it's totally reasonable for a law firm, acting within the bounds of any sanctions regime, to represent Russian clients.

Not to be preachy* about this, but it's a fundamental feature of a rule of law based democracy that any party, however unpopular, should have access to proper legal advice. I think that PR departments of law firms should, perhaps, focus more on reminding the public what the function of a law firm is, and less on trying to align with the political mood of the day. 

And I think all of this is totally compatible with being utterly appalled by Russian's actions in Ukraine (which, for the avoidance of doubt, I of course am). 

*Well, ok - to be preachy.

Anonymous 25 March 22 10:29

"2. You have so little respect for your staff you think they're that stupid."

Reminder. This is Ince & Co.

Anon 25 March 22 11:18

Ince & Co - the “go to” spivvy firm for nasty spivvy lawyers since….. it changed its name to Ince to try and pick up some shreds of respectability from the previously decent firm of that name. 

Anon 25 March 22 11:21

@Anon 25 March 22 08:50 - don't worry, there is a Partner in my team who insists that any associate who resigns cannot tell anyone else (except their parents).   Thankfully, the fat clown is a laughing stock in a sinking team / ship.

Anonymous 25 March 22 12:08

This is the same listed law firm which got its shares suspended when it tried to buy its Nomad?

Anonymous 25 March 22 12:14

Bit confused as Julian Clark’s LinkedIn posts have recently been about Ukraine and his rock concert in aid of Ukraine 🤔

Anon 25 March 22 12:33

The 'famous' sanctions and regulatory team that did not spot any impediment to a struggling AIM-listed shyt-show attempting to buy out its struggling NOMAD, and getting the shares suspended for weeks, is offering to further the grand designs of democracy by presumably attracting all the clients that nobody wants, giving them advice, fvcking it up and getting them smashed by every regulator going - I see your noble point, Messrs. Piles.

Anon 25 March 22 12:46

Ince = Gordon Daggs, with international liabilities

some national ones, too, it would seem

Eggery 25 March 22 15:35

I think that access to justice is a fundamental human right which we are currently denying innocent people on grounds of their nationality. That is wrong imho

anon 25 March 22 15:38

To ‘I’m sorry But’ your point is fair but naive - of course everyone ought to have access to justice and legal advice but that principle is miles removed from the ability of billionaire kleptocrats to employ large teams of City lawyers to shut down free speech or government sanctions 

Anon 25 March 22 15:50

“it's a fundamental feature of a rule of law based democracy that any party, however unpopular, should have access to proper legal advice.”

Yup. And it’s also a fundamental feature of free markets that blue chip clients can choose whether they want to work with a firm that takes Russian money or not. Good luck with that Ince.

Well Informed Remain Voter here 25 March 22 16:58

"everyone ought to have access to justice and legal advice but that principle is miles removed from the ability of billionaire kleptocrats to employ large teams of City lawyers"

Yes, that's right. Everyone should have access to justice.

Except people that I think ill of, whose access should be limited to crap lawyers only. With the good ones reserved for right-thinking people like us, who have the correct passports (blue ones, naturally).

That principle is the very foundation of a functioning democracy. It's what sets us apart from the Russians, Chinese and Bad Koreans*

Equitable Access To Justice - the same for everyone, but different.




*who are precisely the sorts that should be obliged to use the crappy lawyers

AbsurdinessBrown 27 March 22 02:32

"Everyone deserves the right to legal counsel. Unless they're Russian, of course."

This five minutes of hate nonsense is turning into another vuvu hysteria. 

Shall you all stand in your driveways and clap for the brave volunteers of the Ukrainian Foreign Legion?

Orwell had no blinking idea.


Julian Clark lol 29 March 22 06:13

Knowing Julian Clark he just didn’t want others at Ince making public comments and thereby taking any of the limelight off HIM!

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