pwfh ruse

They started to get cocky by the third lockdown.

Dentons has "taken appropriate steps" after discovering that one of its partners has been in a secret long-term relationship with his associate.

The pair have been a couple for several years, according to a source, and even own a house together. But they kept their relationship hidden from the whole department and the firm. RollOnFriday is protecting their identities.

"They are very much a normal couple but do not want the company to know", said an insider.

Lockdown posed a problem for the clandestine couple, but they managed to pull the wool over their colleagues' webcams by attending virtual meetings while sitting in separate rooms of their house. 

The charade fell apart when somebody snitched to the firm this week.

Using the pseudonym John Smith, the informant emailed the firm to say that the relationship's secrecy was "completely unethical" because the partner conducted appraisals for the associate. In the correspondence, seen by RollOnFriday, 'Smith' told the firm that the partner's high scores resulted in his girlfriend receiving pay rises, while others in the department who were of equal merit "may not have". 

But Smith only informed on the lovers after the firm began a redundancy consultation and they feared for their job. Smith told the firm that there was "no doubt" the partner would score the associate highly in the consultation, and that "I have no doubt that someone will be made redundant or pushed into a role that they do not want" because of the partner's scoring of the associate.

"This matter needs addressing", added the employee, as "I do not want to be pushed out unless this process is entirely legitimate". 

Dentons told RollOnFriday in a statement that it "immediately took steps to confirm the position with the individuals concerned" after receiving Smith's email. 

The firm said it also "reconvened" the partners, "excluding the concerned partner", to "conduct a final moderation of the scoring process relating to the redundancy exercise". The result confirmed the original outcome, and "as such we are satisfied that all of our processes have been robust and fair throughout", said the firm. 

Dentons also concluded that all of the partner's appraisals of his girlfriend, and her pay rises, were fair. Maybe more than fair!

"We have also taken appropriate steps to ensure that the circumstances are being formally managed in accordance with our policies", added the firm. 

Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 12 February 21 10:13

Outstanding scoop RoF. This is exactly why I click on you guys first thing every Friday.

This sort of thing clearly happens at every firm, but what was the partner doing keeping it quiet? Just inform senior management and no problem. As it is they’ll presumably have to kick him out. 

Anonymous 12 February 21 10:45

10.13 - thr associate kept it quiet too, don't forget!

Doubt they'll kick him (or her) out though.

Anonymous 12 February 21 11:01

‘Who needs enemies’?! If I were John Smith and thought that I might lose my job because a partner was protecting his secret shag I’d be pretty hacked off too. 

Anonymous 12 February 21 11:09

11.01 - and if John Smith was a malicious complainant? Or if they were using the fact that the partner (and associate don't forget!) had what you call 'secret shags' to try to protect their job even if they were getting made redundant due to performance?

just saying 12 February 21 11:10

"They are very much a normal couple but do not want the company to know"

It's actually a limited liability partnership.

Anonymous 12 February 21 11:20

So what if it is a malicious complaint or John Smith is useless? The partner is appraising an associate with whom he is having a secret relationship. That’s a really serious thing and a matter for the SRA. 

Anonymous 12 February 21 11:27

@11:09 - "what you call 'secret shags'

They were very literally keeping the fact that they were shagging each other a secret. Those shags were a secret. They were, in that very real sense, secret shags.

I mean, but all means moan about John Smith all you like, but watching you try to put scare quotes around the phrase 'secret shags' in this context is like watching Piers Corbyn put them around so-called 'Covid vaccines' invented by alleged 'actual scientists' with what purport to be 'relevant academic qualifications in virology'.

Or, to put it more directly, it makes you sound like a nut.

Anonymous 12 February 21 11:30

Also, who cares if John Smith was or wasn't a malicious complainant?

If they're malicious, then don't give them anything to complain about.

It's not really an excuse to tell the HR team that you did indeed do a bunch of gear in the loos, but that it's all cool because Bob is only moaning to them about it because you didn't offer him any.

The rules are no gear in the lavatories, no boffing your juniors, and at least pretend to be paying attention and nodding along during the diversity seminars even if you think they're a load of old tut.

So just do those things and stop whining when you get caught. It's literally all you need to do in order to have a successful career in the law.

Briefs 12 February 21 11:41

It may be an LLP but the non-partner fee earners are probably employed by an incorporated subsidiary of the LLP so put that on your pedantic pipe and smoke it. 

The love that dare not speak its name 12 February 21 12:35

What a clusterf*ck all round. No one comes out well from this sorry tale. We are not talking “secret shags”. They were in a committed relationship. What a way to have to live their life. Looking over their shoulders waiting for a John Smith to shop them. 

They undoubtedly could have handled it differently. A half-truth here or a vague statement there, over time, may have left them feeling cornered (or it may not, of course). There is an obvious question as to why one of them did not move on. And if there is an obvious answer then that might explain why John Smith felt hard done by. That and potentially having to look for another job during a global pandemic. 


Anonymous 12 February 21 12:49

11.27 - but you call them 'secret shags', not the complainant and not us.

Or to put it another way ranting about covid vaccines makes you sound like a nut!

Anonymous 12 February 21 12:59


Also, who cares if John Smith was or wasn't a malicious complainant? - us, the firm and the SRA.

If they're malicious, then don't give them anything to complain about - or don't make malicious complaints.

There aren't any 'no boffing' (boffing!) juniors (or seniors remember) rules.

If the complaint was malicious and driven by jealousy, malice, or to try and make sure they couldn't be made redundant, then John Smith comes out of this badly and has no place at the firm. The firm has stated that appraisals were done fairly.

Anonymous 12 February 21 13:16

Are 'malicious complaints' a matter for the SRA?

I can't help but think that I've never seen the SRA give any indication that it gives a chuff about either this particular complaint, or any others that were alleged to be malicious?

Are you sure that it's not all in your head again?

I ask only because, so far as I can tell, the SRA is actually far more concerned with striking off senior lawyers who like to bonk their junior associates/paralegals/vac-schemers after a couple of shandies. Irrespective of how much fun those individuals may have had at the time.

Daily Mail 12 February 21 13:22

"The rules are no gear in the lavatories, no boffing your juniors."

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 says no taking cocaine anywhere (not just lavatories, so be careful with that one).

Can't find a law against "boffing your juniors" but there was something in the Human Rights Act 1998 about a right to a private life (including personal relationships) …

On average 30 per cent of relationships start at work and there is still an unfair stigma about dating someone in your office, so people tend to be secretive about it.

Relationships are hard enough without Roll on the Daily Mail. 

Anonymous 12 February 21 13:24

The issue isn't whether two people were having a relationship.

The issue is that one person in the relationship controlled the appraisal and redundancy processes which the other was subject to.

It may well have been an entirely fair process. The issue is that it may not have been. 

But if the firm doesn't know, how can it check the process? 

Anonymous 12 February 21 13:29

Creepy to think that if they got married John Smith might get invited and turn up without either of them knowing he ratted them out.

BST2018 12 February 21 13:31

I doubt very much after Beckwith that this is a matter for the SRA.

It is a matter of employment law for the firm for sure but it's a consensual sexual relationship.  Nothing to do with the SRA.

Anonymous 12 February 21 13:42

13.16 - yes, malicious complaints are a matter for the SRA. So if you're thinking of making one or have in in your head I wouldn't recommend it. When you talk about fun are you talking about the senior staff, the associates/paralegals/vac-schemers, or both?

Anonymous 12 February 21 13:44

13.24 - if you read the article, the firm says the process was fair.

The issue isn't whether one person controlled the process, or whether one person got into a relationship with someone who controlled the process. The issue is whether the complaint was made in good faith or malicious.

Anonymous 12 February 21 13:58

BST2018 - agreed - post-Beckwith, the SRA aren't going to be interested in this sort of thing. They might be interested in malicious complaints though.

Sour grapes 12 February 21 14:05

The whistleblower probably wasn't good enough in the first place, probably didn't bill enough or contribute enough to the team. Good luck staying on as part of that team now. Shameful. 

Anonymous person 12 February 21 14:06

The issue here (on this public website), is why is this story published on Roll on Friday in the first place, for everyone to read? We are talking about people's lives and mental health. 

gossip 12 February 21 14:07

nothing but click bait gossip for judgemental holier-than-thou people at the expense of others doing nothing but getting on with their lives. 

Anonymous 12 February 21 14:08 12 February 21 14:09

@Anonymous 12 February 21 13:24

It appears from the article above that the firm did know and did check the process without that partner and that seems to be the end of the story unless John Smith wants to take this private matter to ACAS or the Employment Tribunal.

It looks like the malicious move was cowardly notifying Roll on Friday in the hope of embarrassing Dentons masquerading as a whistleblower but a reasonable person would expect that all it would achieve is to cause distress and anxiety for the couple involved. 

Anonymous 12 February 21 14:21

What is wrong with the people defending this couple?

The firm did not know that they were in a relationship until informed by the whistleblower. It then took steps, sure. But had it not been informed this couple would have carried on in secret. She might have been spared redundancy and given pay rises entirely fraudulently. Colleagues could have been thrown out of the firm as a result of this deception. 

This is shocking behaviour and clearly a matter of honesty and integrity. 

it is absurd to say that this is nothing more than a personal matter and how dare RoF report it. 

Anonymous 12 February 21 14:26

Genuinely perplexed that people seem to have fixated on the 'malicious complaint' line of thinking in the comments. Seems totally irrelevant to anything in the story.

I can only assume it's the mental health toll of lockdown or something.

fraudulently, shocking, absurd 12 February 21 14:34

@Anonymous 12 February 21 14:21

What a gross and hysterical overreaction!

Best not to jump to conclusions I say.

Anonymous 12 February 21 14:36 12 February 21 14:38

If someone was promoted without merit for years on end, would it not be quite clear within a few months if they were incompetent, undeserving and something else was going on?

Not the News of the World 12 February 21 14:47

Can someone please explain to me in one sentence the good faith justification to involve ROF in this matter once Dentons has been informed? I just can't see it. This isn't an official secret or in the public interest. 

Does anyone care about the enshrined in law right to privacy or is everyone on here working for the News of the World and think Piers Morgan should be prime minister? 

Who needs enemies 12 February 21 15:04

"‘Who needs enemies’?! If I were John Smith and thought that I might lose my job because a partner was protecting his secret shag I’d be pretty hacked off too. "

Well I guess that is the point, just because that is what you "thought", doesn't make it so.

You need evidence to support your thoughts, otherwise, they are just meaningless statements, like the "earth is flat". 

It is possible for a person to be both in a relationship with their boss and good (or the best) at their job, or at least better than John Smith. That seems to be what happened here, and that is what the facts and evidence suggest from Dentons according to the article. 

Anonymous 12 February 21 15:35

14.26 - the possibility that the complaint is malicious is fundamental to the story. Anyone who can't see that must be affected by the mental health impact of lockdown.

Law 12 February 21 17:51

agree - this is their private lives and should not be splattered across Roll on Friday. It is terrible what some people sink to. 

However, he was her superior and presumably he didnt comply with Dentons policy of notifying management. The issue is that he continued to be her supervising partner and ran her appraisals and was involved in the Dentons redundancy process. The two are incompatible. She should have been assigned to another Partner. You can see why this has p1ssed off John Smith and well now all of the Dentons [redacted] team going through redundancy. 

Reply to Law 12 and Wrath of HR 12 February 21 18:05

Yet here we are talking about it on Roll on Friday in the public domain and no doubt ROF is having to block users from name dropping, the threat of which is probably quite traumatising for those involved (including John Smith who could be named at any second and face serious disciplinary action) ...  

"rof didn’t name them" just isn't a good excuse  ...

This should not be on ROF or any public website for that matter, it is as simply as that and if you disagree with that, then you are confused.


Anonymous 12 February 21 18:10

Do you really think any newspaper would fail to name these people? Of course they would name them. And also publish their photos, details of personal lives etc..

They did indeed get off very lightly here. I don’t see why. Maybe RoF is losing its touch. Or maybe it’s becoming soft. Or maybe it just doesn’t want to piss off an advertiser. 

RealEstateLaw 12 February 21 18:10

No their names have not been splashed around but everyone in the affected redundancy team at Dentons knows who the two are and that is clearly extremely embarrassing for them. It should not have made it to ROF. 

However, I personally dont think they can continue to work at the firm - no one will take either of them seriously and their credibility is shot to pieces. 

Reply to Real Estate Law 12 February 21 18:29

I'm a managing partner at a small firm and I personally see no reason why everything shouldn't just be fine within a few weeks.  

We had this exact same issue at our firm last year but thankfully our whistleblower did the honourable thing and just kept the info in house and private - like most issues should be dealt with. There is a time for running to the press, this is just not one them. 

All involved parties continue to work with no issues. People are human, they make mistakes. If there was actual wrongdoing, then I'm sure Dentons would have spotted that when they assessed everything without the concerned partner.   

This talk of credibility being shot to pieces is inflammatory, immature and unhelpful.

Let's all be a bit more grown up and forgiving about these things and consider people's feelings before running the mass media. 

Anonymous 12 February 21 18:34

17.51 - don't forget she also didn't comply with the policy (if there was one) and entered into a relationship with someone who did her appraisals and could have involvement in a redundancy process which could impact here. You can't just target one of them remember. That said, it was all consensual and the firm have said the appraisals and redundancy process were fair, so it doesn't matter.

You can also see why John Smith might have made a malicious complaint.

Disappointed with John Smith 12 February 21 19:05

My personal view is that John Smith acted incredibly maliciously the moment he decided to inform Roll on Friday about this private matter. We really need to start thinking about the devastating impact our actions on social media can have on other people's mental health.  

George Squire 12 February 21 19:26

It’s difficult to credit that the Dentons management team could let this happen. Stumbling from one crisis to another in numerous offices!!!

RealEstateLaw 12 February 21 20:39

People can be in a relationship and work in a law firm. Of course. However, one cannot be directly involved in their partner’s appraisal, feeding them work, having a bias towards their professional development. This ultimately impacts on redundancy scoring. That is the issue, no?

I don’t think this can be brushed under the carpet by Dentons given the messy redundancy process it is conducting - people at that firm surely have well founded concerns. Hello people - Hale v Dentons!!

Anonymous 12 February 21 22:08

18.10 - they didn't 'get off lightly because they didn't do anything wrong. John Smith got off lightly in my view.

Eggery 13 February 21 00:19

Totally disagree they can’t carry on working at Dentons. Mind your own bloody business you lot.

Anonymous 13 February 21 07:24

Real Estate Law - I don't think either of them will leave unless they choose to. I don't think their 'credibility' (in relation to what exactly?) is impacted any more than it would be for anyone else who is in a relationship inside or outside the firm. That said, it could be that one or other of them chooses to leave.

John Smith is more likely to leave in my view though as some of his/her colleagues will no longer trust him/her.

propertylawsucks 13 February 21 08:57

Ordinarily i would say mind your business, its a private matter. However we have to look at this in light of the redundancy situation at dentons and the fact he controlled her appraisals. Likely she gained massively professionally from the relationship in terms of work given to her and supervision. All these factors (partic in light of current cirumstances at dentons) mean their position are untenable and that they will need to move on. Harsh reality. 

If they hadnt been rumbled they would have carried on in secret - that is worrying and doubt Dentons will simply let that go. Am sure there are plenty of associates in that team incl john smith who are furious and understably so. 

This isnt about john smith. Its about two people who deceived dentons, a partner who continued to be his girlfriend's principal partner, oversaw her pay rises, promotions and redundacy process involving her and others. Doesnt that sound really dodgy??

Anonymous 13 February 21 09:18

Real Estate Law, 12th @ 20.39 - you neglect to mention that she potentially gained fro. the relationship too and not just him (why?).

You also neglect to mention that the firm investigated the redundancy process and found it to be fair.

And you don't seem to consider the possibility that the complaint was malicious.

Reply to propertylawsucks 13 February 21 09:52

Reply to propertylawsucks:

Dentons objectively verify all appraisals, promotions and pay rises. People have a right to privacy, a right to privacy does not equate to deception. Simples. 

There is a lot of conjecture and speculation on here, based entirely on a gossip based article. A lot of assumptions that the couple had a malicious intent to gain an advantage by deception.

I would suggest people exercise restraint in jumping to conclusions and stick to the facts. If one does not know the facts because one is not in Dentons' management team or know the individuals involved, then one has nothing valid to say about intent, motives or judgement.

I agree 13 February 21 09:55

The only malice on show here was John Smith exposing a couple's private relationship to mass media.

Mental Wellbeing 13 February 21 09:59

My view is that ROF has a responsibility at the very least to switch off the comments section on this feed because of the traumatising impact it will have on the mental health of all the people involved (I expect each person is worried of a malicious name drop). ROF should think again about whether this article should even be on ROF. 

If John Smith was named on here then I expect he or she would be out of a job. 

ROF's conscious 13 February 21 10:48

I think I should turn off the comments section and remove the article because it is harmful to the mental wellbeing of those involved.

I also agree 13 February 21 11:11

RoF at the very least remove the comments of this dreadful and unnecessary article, or even better remove the entire article due to the trauma response this will undoubtably be causing. 

Anonymous 13 February 21 11:12

It’s depressing to see so many people (or maybe just the same person...) expressing such a strong defence of the couple. 

Sure, people fall in love and have relationships. But if one party in that relationship is the other’s boss and has a direct say over her career progression, pay and risk of redundancy then that party needs to report it to the firm’s management. This avoids the other party being favoured or being perceived to be favoured. Simples. 

Carrying on the subterfuge for so long was ridiculous. It looks awful. If you were given a cardboard box and a P45 and then found out about this relationship I doubt you’d be so phlegmatic. It’s not about the relationship, it is about a lack of integrity of officers of the court. And what shouldn’t that be published on a legal website?

propertylawsucks 13 February 21 11:35

"Dentons objectively verified all appraisals, promotions and pay rises"- Did it? How do you know? A   1 hour partner meeting reconvening on the eve of announcing redundancy positions is not "objectively verifying" anything. Its the Ps towing the party line. 

Has the firm investigated the extent of favouritism to his girlfriend in terms of the kind of work she got or did not get? her career progression?

I know it is horrible to discuss in the public domain and don't think it should have made its way to ROF. However, you are missing the point - its not just about a "harmless relationship" - people's jobs and careers are on the line and this needs to be viewed in context. 

I am sure this P and associate had plenty of opportunities to disclose the relationship but intentionally choose not to do so. So what do you expect, John Smith and others not to be hacked off?? This is not office gossip but a serious matter that needs a proper investigation by dentons. 

George Squire 13 February 21 14:35

The partner involved deliberately deceived his fellow partners and the business generally putting at risk the whole integrity of the redundancy process and also made Dentons a laughing stock.!! He treated the team and those at risk with utter contempt. It could be worse though I guess if the relationship had been an open secret at partner and management level for  any number of years and nobody in management or HR stopped to think it was a potential issue. That would be some corporate failure and subsequent cover up!! Surely everyone who was made redundant or put at risk has a claim?! The Dentons HR team have form so wait for the dodgy note takers to turn up. 

Anonymous 13 February 21 16:26

Look at all the mental health cucks on here.

What is a mental health cuck?

Such beta wimps.

What is a beta wimp?

Is someone trying to prove he's a big boy by calling the other people small?

I don't think that works with grown-ups.



Lad From Darlaston 13 February 21 17:26

Firms rightly look upon issues such as this - seriously from a business perspective.

Early in my career - I was a principal assistant for a Partner (who I like(d) greatly) - but who just could not keep it in his pants - He'd made Partner by virtue of the fact that his wife was the daughter of a former important figure of Lloyds of London (Insurance Market) and his father in law ensured he was fed work he would not have achieved on merit.

While out philandering with junior female solicitors in the Dept. every single night - he covered his tracks (while giving me glowing oral annual appraisals) by telling his wife he'd be out all night having to rescue my deficiencies.

Ultimately, "I walked" - Taking the best part of my GBP £500k p.a. of fees with me  (a generation / 20 years ago = a lot of money) with me - telling him he could give the work to his proteges (and I had his wife's email address and mobile number).

He generously gave me his credit card and I had a great World Cup holiday in Japan in 2002.

His wife rumbled him shortly thereafter (his excuse had evaporated) > Expensive divorce.

The work from Lloyds dried up (as it does in such circumstances).

He got the Half Past Five visit on a Friday afternoon from the Senior Partner saying: "We don't see you have a future with this firm - Don't bother coming in on Monday" . . . 

Somewhat surprisingly to me - he's still shacked up with his protege ('over-sexed')  - but still dreaming of getting back with his wife > > For the Lloyds connections (obviously) = This isn't a Valentine's Day story of true love!





whydidhedoit? 13 February 21 18:02

Why didnt he just disclose to HR and ensure that his girlfriend was assigned to another partner especially when people are being redundant? 

what have they gained by this secrecy - nothing it seems.

Good luck with that guys.

Fullstop 13 February 21 18:52

Wasnt Dentons sued a few years ago for a dodgy redundancy process??

Cant imagine this redundancy process will be seen to be fair at all. Dentons need to get their house in order and fast. 

Anon 14 February 21 01:33

I wonder if Dentons will be sending them a bunch of roses for valentines day today as a thank you for the glorious ROF headline

Anonymous 14 February 21 07:40

13th @ 11.12 - always a mistake to think that if a lot of people disagree with you that it must be one person pretending to be lots of people. Very much weakens your argument.

What you might also have said but strangely didn't was:

Sure, people fall in love and have relationships. But if one party in that relationship is the other’s subordinate and the subordinate's boss has a direct say over her career progression, pay and risk of redundancy then that subordinate needs to report it to the firm’s management. This avoids the subordinate being favoured or being perceived to be favoured. Simples.

So you don't fully grasp the dynamic of these situations. However, in this case the firm has said that both appraisals and redundancy process were fair, so the relationship is none of our business. Or 'simples', as you might say.

The only subterfuge was by John Smith. He looks awful. John Smith is also an officer of the court. At best their complaint was misconceived. At worst it shows a malucious lack of integrity.

Anonymous 14 February 21 07:43

propertylawsucks 13th @ 11.35 - are you saying the redundancy process was unfair? If so, why?

Are you saying she benefitted from her relationship in terms if career progression? If so, why?

How do you know John Smith wasn't malicious or jealous or trying to avoid being made redundant for performance reasons?

Anonymous 14 February 21 07:48

Geore Squire - what was the deliberate deceit? Do you think the associate was deceitful as well? If so, why do you only mention the partner? In what way did he treat the team and those at risk with utter contempt? Did the associate treat the team and those at risk with utter contempt? If so, why do you only mention the partner? What form do the Dentons HR department have?

I would say if anyone has made the firm a laughing stock it is John Smith.

Anonymous 14 February 21 09:56

Lad from Darlaston - strang you don't mention the associate, but given that the firm have said the appraisal and the redundancy process were fair it doesn't matter.

Firms rightly look on malicious complaints seriously from a business perspective.

Cupid 14 February 21 09:58

If it transpires that there has been favouritism over the years at the expense of others and that the associate gained an unfair advantage in terms of the work she received (i.e. of she gained professionally) and on the back of that had done well in the scoring process in this redundancy round and in appraisals that undermines the legitimacy of scoring process as a whole. There is no question about that. 

One needs to look at how the firm reached its conclusions that the redundancy scoring was fair. To simply say, as as has been suggested in the news story, that the partners reconvened and double checked the scores is not enough. What were they checking exactly?

I disagree with the earlier poster. There is fundamnetal wrongdoing here by both partner and associate (leaving aside j smith for a minute) in the context that this is in - an on going redundancy process at Dentons. This is significant. How many other redundancy processes did this partner oversee where his girlfriend was at risk along with others?

The heart of this issue is that there has been a deliberate attempt to conceal a realationship which ought to have been reported at a time when not just j smith but others presumably are at risk or are being made redundant. That is the concern not the relationship itself. 

You cannot appraise your own girlfriend. Its a fundamental conflict if interest whichever way you look at you look at this. 

The partner is the one in a position of authority here not John Smith. The partner (and girlfriend) knew the rules and firm policy and chose to disregard it particularly at at time of great uncertainty and sensitivity for so many people. That is pretty poor behaviour. As a senior solicitor, a partner, that is simply not ethical and you cannot lead by that example. 

I have no doubt that this is a difficult time for the couple. But what about the poor sods going through redundancy at Dentons who have only just come to know about this? 

Dentons are made to look like fools (again). Shambles. 

Anon 14 February 21 10:01

Appearances matter and justice needs to be seen to be done. So despite the fact that the appraisal process was determined to be fair, what was in issue was the perception of bias. That is why, although there is nothing wrong with relationships between lawyers in the same offices (including between senior and junior lawyers), people should not be appraised by those with whom they are in a relationship.

Why did John Smith do it? 14 February 21 10:03

13th @ 18.02 - what you might have said is:

Why didnt she just disclose to HR and ensure that her boyfriend was assigned to another area especially when people are being redundant? But since the firm have said the appraisal and the redundancy process were fair it doesn't matter. They have gained and lost nothing.

What has John Smith gained by their lack of secrecy - nothing it seems.

Anonymous 1 14 February 21 10:08

If John Smith had wanted to 'out' the couple for the sake of being a snitch then they would have done so as soon as they became aware of their relationship. But they only did so once there was a possibility that the relationship could unfairly affect someone else's / their own employment.

I'm not sure how identifying a potentially significant issue with the department's appraisal and redundancy process is a bad thing. The partner and associate should have shown similar concern for the integrity of these processes over the years, but didn't because it benefitted them. 

It is common for Dentons associates to work across multiple partners and sometimes shift the focus of their work / their line manager. The associate could have done this at any point over the last few years or the partner could have facilitated it, without needing to disclose their relationship, but they didn't. 

George Squire 14 February 21 10:25

He went into a scoring meeting as part of a redundancy  process and decided not to declare he was in a long term relationship with one of the fee earners at risk! How is that legally or morally acceptable??. If others in that scoring meeting knew about the relationship then they are also equally culpable. If the rumours are true and everyone in the office at partner and management level knew about the relationship (which had been ongoing for years) then it’s a massive failure of the HR and management team. How can any of that be acceptable? To blame the whistleblower is just shameful.

Dentons Senior Assoc 14 February 21 12:29

I am a senior associate at Dentons. The issue here was the objective bias point. It was considered wrong that someone was being assessed/appraised by a partner they were in a relationship with. And the conduct of the whistleblower was looked into, and it was found that he behaved entirely properly and without malice.

Anon 14 February 21 13:26

Dentons Senior Assoc - ok if you have the inaide track, what will happen to the Partner and his girlfriend? Presumably disciplinary action is taking place behind the scenes and that the couple or at least one them will now have to leave Dentons? That is the only realistic outcome I can see from this. 

Eggery 14 February 21 14:05

Much of the commentary above is unfair. Unfair on the people involved and unfair on Dentons, frankly. There are human beings at the end of this. Has Covid deprived us of humanity?

Anon 14 February 21 16:26

I started reading this news item with absolute dismay that something like this would make its way to the media. Partners and associates being together is nothing new and a bit of a yawn. 

But reading some of the comments I can see the concerns people have. Aside from the couple, reputationally this is bad for Dentons and actually the relevant practice group head in this current climate where people are loosing their jobs. 

I think more likely that the associate will have to leave. If the partner decides to walk or is asked to leave presumably he will have the same problem at another law firm - that is he cant take his associate girlfriend with him and for them to work together else that conflict of interest will just follow them. 


Anon 14 February 21 17:06

The head of the practice group and HR team advising must have been asleep at the wheel. 

Slow motion car crash.

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