MeToo finds a way.
A junior lawyer at the London office of Proskauer Rose has left the firm after alleging harassment against a partner.
The associate at the US firm reported the partner for acting inappropriately towards her, sources told RollOnFriday. The associate was "harassed" by the partner until she quit, said a source, and has now taken a job at another City firm.
The partner remains at Proskauer, but last Friday London Managing Partner Mary Kuusisto and the firm's compliance officer called an unusual 'townhall' meeting in which staff were informed that allegations had been made.
Management did not identify the partner to staff, but it "reminded everyone to act appropriately" and "to remember their obligations", according to a second source. A third source provided his name to RollOnFriday.
Evidence of the alleged harassment and the form it took has not been disclosed, but credit must be given to all involved for not letting lockdown, remote working and social distancing prevent a #metoo incident from raising its head.
“Proskauer does not tolerate disrespectful or inappropriate behaviour and holds everyone in our Firm to the highest standards of conduct", the firm said in a statement.
"We encourage anyone to report behaviour that they believe violates Proskauer’s policies and provide confidential avenues to do so. We follow strict protocols to investigate complaints. Proskauer remains committed to ensuring everyone in our Firm is treated with respect and dignity.”
Last year a Proskauer solicitor claimed a toxic working environment compelled him to lie to partners about failing an exam, and that a partner had told him to "fuck off and cry to HR", but the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal dismissed his allegations and ordered him to be struck off.
At Proskauer, or in private practice? Take the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2021 Survey:
What was the alleged 'harassment'?
ROF happy to name and shame junior solicitors for various indiscretions but won't do the same to a City partner... Shock.
Toxic firm that will stand behind its partners no matter what, always easier to make the junior move on.
ROFHauser - ROF has also published a lot of partners' names, and protected a lot of juniors' names. It appears to depend on whether the issues have gone through a court/SDT/tribunal and the names are publicly available/they have been found guilty of something, ie, I would suggest it is all to do with defamation risk.
ROFhauser/Bingo - the associate isn't named here, so it would be a surprise if the partner was, especially since we don't know what, if anything, happened.
Flaming pitchforks at the ready, lads.
When did it stand behind its partners and make juniors move on?
Look, I think that we should all just relax and not jump to conclusions until we actually have some facts about what happened. Until there has been a proper investigation and stuff.
In time, I am sure that the BSB will completely clear this poor fellow of all wrongdoing, just like they did with Lord Lester.
Is that really an appropriate photo to use to illustrate a story about harrassment? Looks like you're treating it as a joke.
Anon 9.57, Maybe look at how much Rof has done on exposing metoo issues before getting pissy about a picture.
We should indeed relax and not jump to conclusions, 9.56. Indeed we don't know if a regulatory body will even be looking at this. And if they did it wouldn't be the BSB, as the accused is not a barrister.
What metoo issues were exposed?
They blew the lid on the whole Gary Senior business, for one.
Lord Lester has clearly come back to life and is now a partner at Proskauer.
@10.07 - true, that was a good exclusive, even although a number of the allegations turned out to be false.
Anonymous 27 November 20 09:56: Lord Lester wasn’t cleared by the BSB.
The BSB did not clear Lord Lester QC. They rather found that, despite harassing Ms Sanghera, he should not be sanctioned. The relevant part of the ruling, which is publicly available, is at paragraph 16 and provides:
“The question which therefore falls to be determined is whether, in light of the findings against Lord Lester, he should be allowed to continue to practise. This has given us very anxious cause for consideration. After all, Lord Lester was found to have harassed Ms Sanghera and abused his position. Those findings stand, notwithstanding Ms Sanghera’s non-participation in the instant proceedings. We have no jurisdiction to revisit those findings or to interfere with them. We are driven to conclude, however, that notwithstanding Lord Lester’s conduct, he should not be subject to sanction. This is because he intends imminently to retire and does not intend to renew his Practising Certificate upon its expiry.”
Anonymous 27 November 20 10:16: which allegations turned out to be false?
@10.17 & 10.19 - Lord Lester was completely cleared of any wrongdoing by the BSB. The BSB report isn't publicly available. That is why nobody claiming that there is a 'paragraph 16' in the report criticising Lord Lester has been able to provide the report - because they don't have it.
@10:20 all of the ones made against Lord Lester.
@10.20 - the ones against the firm, the Disputes Partner and the HR Director.
Anonymous 27 November 20 10:23: please provide the link to, or relevant excerpts from, the BSB’s decision in which Lord Lester QC was allegedly cleared of the findings of the House of Lords’ Committee.
Anonymous 27 November 20 10:16: which allegations against Gary Senior turned out to be false?
Anonymous 27 November 20 10:23: the decision is publicly available. It is available to any member of the public. I obtained it from the Bar Tribunal and Adjudication Service. Their telephone number is 0203 4327350. They will email the decision to you.
The decision shows that Lord Lester was not cleared by the BSB.
@10.30 - the allegations against the firm, the Disputes Partner and the HR Director turned out to be false.
Anonymous 27 November 20 10:43: please specify the allegations against the firm, the Disputes Partner and the HR Director which turned out to be false.
What is a Proskauer? Sounds like a toilet brush
Lord Lester was a member of the Leerage.
It is a toxic banking/finance team at that firm...
@10.51 - the ones the SRA investigated and cleared them of.
Anonymous 27 November 20 11:09: specify them or you are talking bollocks.
11.17 - they've been specified- they are the ones the SRA investigated and cleared them of. Bollocks to suggest these accusations weren't false!
11.17 - are you suggesting that the allegations against the firm, the Disputes Partner and the HR Director, which the SRA investigated and cleared them of, are not false?
Anonymous 27 November 20 11:21: what were the allegations the SRA investigated and cleared them of?
@11.30 - the full accusations which the SRA investigated and cleared them of are on www.solicitorstribunal.org.uk - the complete case is there. Its a 113 page document, so goes into a lot of detail about the allegations and why the SRA cleared them. Its an interesting read for anyone who questions the number of false accusations in these sort of cases.
The fact that the firm, the Disputes Partner and the HR Director were investigated and cleared, and the allegations against them, were widely reported in the legal press.
In what way Well?
Anonymous 27 November 20 11:50: what were the allegations the SRA investigated and cleared them of?
Anonymous 27 November 20 11:54: what were the allegations the SRA investigated and cleared them of?
@12.03 - the ones you were directed to at 11.50. They haven't changed.
@12.03 - are you suggesting that the allegations against the firm, the Disputes Partner and the HR Director, which the SRA investigated and cleared them of and which you are now aware of, are not false?
Anonymous 27 November 20 11:55: you meant to write, “In what way, Well?” The comma is crucial. Otherwise, you are enquiring whether the person is well, rather than directing the question to them by name. Please learn how to punctuate.
Anonymous 27 November 20 11:50: please specify the allegations you claim were found to be false, with reference to the relevant paragraphs of the ruling.
Anonymous 27 November 20 12:09: what were the allegations the SRA investigated and cleared them of?
@12.13 - actually I meant "In what way Well".
Please learn how to punctuate.
@12.17 & 12.18 - I don't claim they allegations were found to be false, they were found to be false. The following gives the relevant paragraphs again - www.solicitorstribunal.org.uk - the complete case is there. Its a 113 page document, so goes into a lot of detail about the allegations and why the SRA cleared them. Its an interesting read for anyone who questions the number of false accusations in these sort of cases.
@12.17 & 12.18 - are you suggesting that the allegations against the firm, the Disputes Partner and the HR Director, which the SRA investigated and cleared them of and which you are now aware of, are not false?
Anonymous 27 November 20 11:55: I don't know why you are asking me in what way I am well, but I am happy to indicate that I am well because I am healthly and fit.
Has anyone ever seen Gary Senior and Lord Lester in the same room at the same time?
I'm just asking out of curiosity.
Glad you're well Well, but the question was actually in what way is it a toxic banking/finance team at that firm...
Probably not 13.00 - they don't have much in common.
Fun fact: every proskauer rose has its thorns, just like every night has its dawn.
Anonymous 27 November 20 13:00: yes, and as people found to have harassed women, they were very suited to each other's company.
Anonymous 27 November 20 13:18: I am not well Well - just well. The non-use of a comma has again let you down and distorted the meaning of what you say. You needed a comma between the wells. The question you asked was in what way I was well.
Anonymous 27 November 20 13:00: match made in heaven!
@ 13.45 - I don't know if you're not well or not Well, but the question was in what way Well?
Sounds like the non-use of a comma has let you down and distorted the meaning of what you say!
Well well well, what have we here?
13.34 & 13.46 - they have nothing in common.
"Well well well, what have we here?" - watch out for the comma police!
@13:23 proskauer is the most fun if you're not a white male
Proskauer always seemed like a decent shop to me
Can anyone shed a bit of light on what Proskauer's City office is like? The firm has a very solid reputation in the US but I barely hear news about its London office when compared to the other US "giants"...
Has the associate who left been paid or claimed money from Proskauer?
Gary Senior: I’ll get the drinks!
Lord Lester: I’ll offer the peerage!
In what way did the partner 'act inappropriately'?
It is inappropriate to accuse someone of acting inappropriately without specifying what the allegedly inappropriate action is.
28 November 20 18:45 Err, the partner isn’t named. So are you saying it’s inappropriate to say an anonymous person is alleged to have acted inappropriately? Are you insane?
I bet if the action was specified, you’d say it’s inappropriate to state it unless you have evidence.
And if evidence was provided, you’d say it’s inappropriate to describe it unless it’s been proven in a court of law.
Gaz @ 21.06 - read the comment at 18.45 - it doesnt say its inappropriate to say an anonymous person is alleged to have acted inappropriately. It says it is inappropriate to accuse someone of acting inappropriately without specifying what the allegedly inappropriate action is. No, I'm not insane. Are you?
I bet most people would say that it is inappropriate to make an allegation without evidence. I bet you would say its perfectly alright to do so though.
It is a false allegation that if evidence was provided, I'd say it’s inappropriate to describe it unless it’s been proven in a court of law. Indeed I would encourage provision of evidence and description of it. You would say evidence isn't needed, and if it is provided it doesn't need to be evaluated. But that is because you make false allegations.
The way these things work is as follows: 1) specify the allegation, 2) provide evidence, 3) evaluate and decide. We still haven't had the allegation specified, so it was inappropriate of the accusers to accuse someone of acting inappropriately without specifying what the allegedly inappropriate action is.
Did the townhall meeting specify the allegations? If not, it should have.
Anonymous 28 November 20 23:04
‘it is inappropriate to accuse someone of acting inappropriately without specifying what the allegedly inappropriate action is’
Who is it you imagine is doing the accusing here?
Because remember, no-one has been identified, so if you mean the press, ‘someone’ is not being accused - no-one is.
Strange that the third source named the Partner and not the Associate.
@Gaz - we don't imagine that there someone has been doing the accusation - the headline to the story tells us that there has been. Unless you are saying that there was no allegation and the sources invented it - although this would seem unlikely.
Remember, although no-one has been identified, that does not mean that there has been no accusation. Even if we don't know what the accusation is.
Anonymagic @ 22:57 - I would possibly consider working at the firm if I was based in the US, but definitely not in London. As you say, good enough rep in the States, but a bit of a no-name in London. I see it as a place you go if you want to work for a US firm in London but can't quite make the cut to work at a proper US firm in London. If you're going to work 2000+ hours in a workplace with a US style culture, go somewhere you'll get paid properly for it or don't bother...
What obligations were staff reminded to remember?
@11.58 your summary is fairly accurate, other than for the funds department which has a decent practice in London.
The associate and the partner are both adults, so the fact that the associate is junior, i.e. that she and the partner are presumably different ages, is not relevant to the allegation.
Has it been discovered what the alleged 'harassment' was?
@US "giant" associate - point is they don’t work 2000 hours and still get paid Big Law whack inc. bonus on Cravath scale
Without knowing what the accusations are and if they're true, its unclear whether the partner was harassor or harassee.
Anon 21:32 - I think you will find that they do have to work those hours... The finance team particularly have just as poor a quality of life as my US shop which I know pays substantially more year on year
Did the associate make the allegations before or after leaving?