stress law

Gav and Scott's Unexcellent Adventure.


A former lawyer has issued a blistering attack on personal injury firm Scott Rees & Co, recounting how his supervisor turned on him even after he taught her husband to drive.

Gav Morris said he left law completely as a result of his experiences as an employee at the Merseyside firm, "So I no longer need references, nor to remember to kiss the feet that could be kicking my arse tomorrow".

His freedom meant he felt comfortable issuing a four point manifesto on what made a "horrible toxic culture".

"1. IT IS NOT OK TO MAKE PEOPLE CRY", began Morris in his public Facebook post. 

"If you have made a colleague or employee cry, you have just pushed an adult to that level of desperation", said Morris, who has forged a new career by starting his own roof-cleaning business. "They need their wage just as much as you need yours. And if it happens at least once a week then shame on you".

According to Morris, his team leader gave evidence against him when he made a claim against the firm alleging that work stress had exacerbated his depression.

"We seemed to get on fine", said Morris in the second section of his post, "STOP ACCEPTING UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOUR".

"I gave her husband a couple of driving lessons, driving up to Kirby, for free. I even dealt with her husband's allegation that we were having an affair!"

"Yet she turned on me. When I told her I was claiming she even asked me if I'd even thought about her. This was a 5 figure claim, not a cheeky try on", he said.

The firm's compliance officer also testified against him, which "makes sense", said Morris, and so did a partner who "has made staff cry and has made staff leave".

Morris's third point claimed that "MINIMUM WAGE JUSTIFIES MINIMUM EFFORT", and he advised employers to "Stop expecting people to do their best, if you pay them your worst".

But his final point advised that "THE BOTTOM LINE IS NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING". After "breaking" and leaving the firm, a year of no money "has shown me that comfort and happiness is not found in a bank balance, but in health, family and love", he said.

"As ever, Be excellent to each other", concluded Morris, whose post attracted dozens of supportive messages.

"When I worked with you I remember you being such a competent, great fee earner. I remember wishing I could be at your level. I can only imagine what lead to someone/firm/company breaking such a good guy down", said a former colleague.

"That place made me ill too. The thought of going into work made be physically and mentally ill", said another.

Scott Rees did not respond to requests for comment.


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Comments

Dearie 14 May 21 10:11

Firms I've worked at are starting to wake up to these sorts of messages which is good. The downside is that management think that they only need to be "mindful" and "caring" of the younger millennials. They've been beasting senior associates for years and their treatment has only got worse. 

Moon Monkey 14 May 21 10:53

Last week we had a story* about a Freeth’s partner who photoshopped a pretty new associate’s face onto a picture of Pamela Anderson in her Baywatch swimsuit and then showed it to other senior Freeths staff.  Would Gav Morris approve of that?
 

 

 

 

* The Roll on Friday story made reference to the tribunal decision, which at paragraph 441 made reference to this (and other juicy details). 
 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/60869631d3bf7f0133234ce6/Mr_MJ_Taplin_v_Freeths_LLP_-_2602284.2018.pdf

Anonymous 14 May 21 10:54

Unfortunately law firms are businesses and value profit over all else. That is to be expected. that also means that partners have a lot of leeway to bully an harass fee-earners and other members of staff.

While a lot of law firms have started to pay lip service to mental health challenges experienced by their employees, very few firms have woken up to the fact that a lot of problems could be avoided if partners are divested of some of the powers they have over their underlings. 

nervoaboutfurlough 14 May 21 11:11

Pre qualification I worked at a firm that treated people like this. I was an anxious mess and was basically bullied by one of the partners. It is all about hours, targets and profit and nobody really cares about how you are coping.

Anonymous 14 May 21 11:19

@09:24 does BLM even pay minimum wage?

I assumed that everyone was there voluntarily because they assumed that kneeling on the pavement would cure racism in America?

Anonymous 14 May 21 11:30

People get upset and offended. The extent to which they do so by things which they deem "inappropriate" is not always proportionate to the acts which caused the upset or offence. 

Anonymous 14 May 21 12:28

Big big shame, but props to this chap for putting his head over the parapet to speak out.

I think it is well recognized that some of the most charmless pricks end up in positions of seniority in legal professions. They peddle that age-old horseshit of ‘I had to put up with similar abuse on my climb up the greasy pole, therefore it is my well-earned right to dish-out the same’. I’d like to think that most level-headed partners would, instead, try to use their positions of seniority to ensure that any culture of bullying is eradicated from their shop.

 

ShootyVisitingAgain 14 May 21 13:23

"I even dealt with her husband's allegation that we were having an affair!"

Jaysus, did he just confess to killing the husband?

"It's OK, luv: I've dealt with it..."

(joking aside, having worked somewhere where I would sit in my car in the car park and cry each morning, sorry it went this way for this chap)

Anonymous 14 May 21 13:38

People cry at FBD everyday. An extra days holiday now just to stock up on tissues. 

LookingBack 14 May 21 13:43

What grates my cheese is having to look at ultra woke and fluffy LinkedIn posts and "likes" from a partner - now inhouse - who when in pp was the antithesis of every value she now spews over social media. Should probably call for a comment along the lines of "well that's interesting, do you remember when [cancelled holidays the day before departure/insisted all nighters as a result of artifical deadlines/blind copyed in other partners so they only saw half the story/faced down client complaints of uselessness and generally passed the buck to juniors]"  The gulf between what someone professes on social media and the reality can be vomit inducing. 

Brian Scalabrine 14 May 21 18:29

@LookingBack

Heh mate, that is life.  A lot of these people are bullies in the office, and then after hours or when they retire they become mother Theresa.  Can't really change it, people know how they have treated people and will always have to deal with it particularly if they see the person face to face.  I just let these things go otherwise you will be angry forever.  Also I have to say the majority of people in private practice are not bad, they just keep quiet to avoid the wrath of the bad ones, so can't really blame them.  

Old Ben Kenobi 14 May 21 19:41

Experience five (plus) years of vitriolic abuse from a very 'ungifted lawyer'  partner - by virtue of the fact that I declined to sleep with them.

Eventually leave - Walk-out on Friday night and email a very Senior Partner - so he knows I will tell his wife what he's been up to.

Collect settlement - Ski the rest of the season and then drive to Japan for the World Cup (it was 2002!)

Several years later - discover another partner in that team had been up to all sorts of nefariousness in relation to a client who I'd been involved with,

Enter into a consultancy agreement with said client 'to explain where the bodies are buried' - Terms were 'one peppercorn > provided said 'ungifted lawyer' partner lost their job as part of the settlement (or full hourly rate if not).

Law firm settles for GBP £xx million and 'ungifted' partner lawyer is told on a Friday evening not to come in on Monday (= never works again).

That's the way you do it (and yes - as my name indicates - I'm male, the 'ungifted lawyer' partner was female) . . .    

 

Anonymous 15 May 21 17:48

There’s been a huge highlight recently about terrible behaviour of people in power in the film/tv/entertainment industry. That is nothing -  NOTHING - compared to what goes on in the legal world. As a lawyer of 20 years, at several different firm, I’ve heard of rape, sexual assault, physical abuse, verbal abuse, mental torture, and financial crime. Crying in the toilets and people suddenly no-longer working at a firm,  mental breakdowns, is commonplace. It’s high time the lid was lifted on this. The problem, as in all cases, is that if you are the whistleblower you lose your job, and your income. It’s lose lose. I’m ashamed to be in the profession. If anyone replies to this post to say it doesn’t happen in their firm or that they know nothing of it going on then, all I can say to them is that they need to open their eyes and ears more. It does. Every day. 

Anonymous 15 May 21 19:08

When I worked in the City this was not the behaviour I experienced or saw (a few Firms). When I worked for a few years in (what I can only with hindsight say is) a high street Firm after that this is the behaviour I experienced. Awful and greedy management. Very demanding while paying a pittance. Want you to buy into their lifestyle and culture and imposing organised fun galore on you. Breaking the juniors, saying that they would get it worse in the City, and convincing them they were in a great place. I'm back where I should never have left, and although sad to have seen what I did I am glad that I can now at least empathise and try to change these things. How will I do it? Sadly not on a large scale. I will however do my best to take down those partners in the coming years. And I will have my vengeance (as well as my junior former colleagues'). 

Anonymous 15 May 21 19:08

When I worked in the City this was not the behaviour I experienced or saw (a few Firms). When I worked for a few years in (what I can only with hindsight say is) a high street Firm after that this is the behaviour I experienced. Awful and greedy management. Very demanding while paying a pittance. Want you to buy into their lifestyle and culture and imposing organised fun galore on you. Breaking the juniors, saying that they would get it worse in the City, and convincing them they were in a great place. I'm back where I should never have left, and although sad to have seen what I did I am glad that I can now at least empathise and try to change these things. How will I do it? Sadly not on a large scale. I will however do my best to take down those partners in the coming years. And I will have my vengeance (as well as my junior former colleagues'). 

Anonymous 15 May 21 19:12

I hope your claim against this firm was successful!

I recently resigned from a company, as it made ne so unwell mentally. I am still recovering, but am getting there. 

Well done for you honest post, well said. 

 

Anonymous 15 May 21 20:42

As a trainee, I was bullied and reduced to tears on a daily basis by another trainee, who called herself the “senior trainee”. People behaving in such ways should not be allowed to qualify/practice. 

Fake Partner 16 May 21 02:57

What's the betting the Partners at this firm post on LinkedIn with messages to "be kind." There was a partner at my old firm who would shout at associates all the time. One day he did it to me, when I was dealing with my sick father who had lung cancer. I just took his head off and said, "If you shout at me, you're going to have a big fucking problem. Don't ever talk to me like that again." I think he was used to bullying people with no push back, and the look of surprise on his face was priceless. He never got on my case again. 

Anonymous 17 May 21 11:01

If this gives anyone some consolation, here is my career.

 

1st firm - 3 years paraweaseling for atrociously negligent partner who had favourites. I was not one. Said partner now a low level associate elsewhere following demotions. I left on qualification as went via non-traditional route.

2nd firm - NQ in a team that was dynamic and fun. Boss loved me. Lots of hard work and lots of hard play. Best time of my life in hindsight.

3rd firm - terrible. Worked to bone. Made to feel like tiny cog. Partners were sociopaths.

4th firm - tin pot clueless outfit stuck in 1980s. Partners were arrogant but not sociopaths. Clear favourites existed.

5th firm - meek but lovely boss who allows freedom to work hard and play hard. Everyone is nice in the team and clients are fairly straightforward. Could happily work here for the rest of my career.

RetroRik 17 May 21 13:23

I can categorically state Gavin's words are true. Simply put the most vile, toxic, bullying environment you could imagine. Egomanic's who may be adequate in there our field but could not sharpen a pencil on there own. It was a daily occurrence to see both men and women in tears due to the bullying and pressure put under them, young girls in bits too scared to speak to the fee earners. All done very cleverly, they have HR in there back pocket so nothing ever gets actioned or stamped out.

 

Anonymous 17 May 21 15:17

"As a trainee, I was bullied and reduced to tears on a daily basis by another trainee, who called herself the “senior trainee”. People behaving in such ways should not be allowed to qualify/practice."

In fairness, if you can't manage to roast some chump who calls themselves a 'senior trainee' then the cut and thrust of legal practice may not be for you.

Like, if the Senior Partner is giving you a beasting then fair enough having a cry in the bathroom about it. But by some pretentious Henrietta who thinks that 'senior trainee' is anything other than a punchline? Gedouttahere.

TLDR: your whole intake should have been relegated to management consultancy, at best.

Quittinglaw,can'twait! 18 May 21 11:41

I've worked at a few city law firms (and a couple of big regionals before I came to London as well).  those with great reputations and those with shit reputations.  I've been made to cry at every single one (and I'm not a crier; note, not a lawyer either) and have witnessed trainees and junior lawyers cry in every firm I've worked in.  It's endemic across the industry and no, it is not okay.

 

Anonymous 20 May 21 10:51

I don't think you are unusual in that respect, a lot of the people at BLM are fairly sensitive souls.

But take heart, once you've succeeded in abolishing the police force then we can all rejoice together in a utopia in which nobody will ever need to shed a tear again. After the obligatory one minute kneel, of course.

What exactly we'll do when somebody nicks our handbags while we're doing that rejoicing is unclear... but at least nobody will be in a position to discriminate against muggers. Which is the important thing.

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