A senior Slater and Gordon lawyer and his paralegal have been fired for repeatedly shagging in the firm's London office.
On one occasion a security guard doing his rounds heard the pair going at it hammer and tongs. When the lovers were interrupted during another knee-trembler by a junior staffer, the flustered head of department, whom RollOnFriday is not naming, asked to meet the employee privately later on to reach an understanding. Instead the junior went straight to HR.
Slater and Gordon started an investigation and discovered that the pair had not just been enjoying the unique frisson a work environment can lend to the pleasures of the flesh. It emerged that the senior lawyer used his position to extend other privileges to his lover which he had denied her fellow paralegals, including the right to work from home.
Both the partner and the paralegal were sacked in September. RollOnFriday is not naming the paralegal, who is now employed at another firm, but understands that she was also seeing another solicitor in a different team without either of the men knowing about the other.
A spokesman for S&G said "OMG you're not publishing this are you?". (Not really: they declined to comment.)
With late nights, close contact and shared emotional highs and lows, law firms have long been the Strictly Come Dancing of professional services. It's the story told by the dented files at Clifford Chance, the polished desk at Wilkie Farr and the smudged bonnet in a Magic Circle car park. At least it was consensual.
I don't think the junior lawyer who went to HR emerges from this with much credit on the face of it.
Nonny above: I dunno. Gotta know all the facts. Maybe it was well known, and he/ she/ xhe had no confidence that the Head of Department would do anything. Maybe they were sick of the perks that the paralegal got, had complained before, nothing was done, so they thought "Sod this, let's do it properly". Who knows? Not me. Not you. Would I have gone to HR? About the shagging? No. About the perks/ preferential treatment? Possibly, yes.
Anyway, given turnover rates, a senior lawyer at Slater Gordon these days is, what, 3 - 4 years PQE?
Shooty, agree with you (I was the previous anonymous). On the face of it, it doesn't look good. If it was known and nothing was done, or if it was because of perks (assuming there were perks, and there is no evidence that there was), then it could possibly be justified in some circumstances.
Erm, I was actually the original anonymous, and your views do NOT reflect mine.
I'm glad we could have this discussion. Nice to meet you.
We can both be happy we weren't involved. :)
Oh yeah - it’s the junior lawyer’s fault. He/she should have welcomed the opportunity to chat with partner, come to an ‘understanding’ and thereby ensure the partner maintained the ability to continue shagging around the office . Heaven forbid a partner be opened to scrutiny like they worked in a modern profession!
No! I'm nonny above!
Hahaha. That made my day. Gonna check the facts with my friend at S&G London office. LOL
"On one occasion a security guard doing his rounds heard the pair going at it hammer and tongs."
@Erm - you weren't, but feel free to post your own views.
This is completely wrong...
There was no Junior Solicitor involved.
I heard it was an apprentice or work experience student, not a junior solicitor
So the junior lawyer is now a visual assault survivor?
how the f**k can ya'll focus on the ethics of the snitch. Jesus f**king wept. Its a..supposedly professional environment. Good on the junior for calling it out. Not shagging in the office is one the basic fundamentals expected for most employees.
@Oh Yeah and Snitch - of course the partner and paralegal having sex wasn't the fault of the junior lawyer (if there was a junior lawyer - see other comments), but depending on the circumstances (which we don't know all of), it could be that they don't emerge with much credit from the episode.
I find this fairytale exhausting. The mechanics of this story seemingly change from person to person, it's like a game a Chinese Whispers between a room full of people with Altzheimers.
Poor thing, have a lie down. Just not in the office, after hours.
And yet @former lord Varys at S&G you must be the only person at S&G that isn’t fully aware of this .... need more little birds don’t you!
Pretend how they like it was a partner with a junior member of staff f**king in the office.
Allegedly she was sacked and if so should sue them to doomsday. Sooner this joke firm is put out of its misery the better.
Can you lot get a hold of yourselves and evaluate your life right now. It amazes me how you people actually care that much about other people’s lives than your own. Honestly just take a look at yourselves and focus on your own lives! So sad tbh and I feel sorry for yous.
You cant handle the truth
@Tyrion my dear diminutive friend, my birds across multiple departments of the office have provided me with several different stories. Emphasis on different and why I have concluded that it's nothing but a fairytale.
If people wish to spread malicious rumours, the stories should be straight first.
At this rate the most likely story appears to be that it was professor plum in the kitchen with the knife, or that there were 3 clowns, a sloth and a dwarf of noble stock shooting pheasants at a wall. Personally I believe the latter.
I’d forgotten how well written and funny ROF is. At least compared to Legal Cheek.
But what’s happened to Bonkers Websites? I used to go there now and again just to re-read the feature on Bristol’s comedy Bud Fox and Gordon Gecko.
If you’ve dropped the Bonkers Websites section, could you please just re-post that one for posterity.
I wonder which new starter will end up with me and my sordid little secret?
For the security guard. New ish to a job and dilligently carrying out his duty by reporting such an occurence which has unfortunately (for the two involved) been passed on. Why would he make up something like this? More curious is the refusal to believe it happened by former lord whatever, is there something to be gained by doubting the facts?
@Former Lord Varys - what were the different stories you heard?
@Spare a thought - I don't know what happened here but generally its a basic rule that just because one doesn't know why someone might make something up doesn't mean they didn't make it up. FLV says they doubt the facts because they've heard different versions, its not a 'refusal to believe'. Curious that given this you ask whether they have something to gain by doubting the facts.
I made the comment about the Bonkers Websites section...and now I’ve found it. Good stuff. Pleased to see it’s still a feature.
the pair involved have already or will move onto bigger and better things at other respectable firms. Hopefully they will learn to conduct themselves more appropriately in future, not be arrogant and abuse positions of power or use their appearance to get the jump on fellow colleagues. Good luck to all involved, can the (meeting room) door now be closed on this sorry incident.
Supposed bonks here, not bonkers section I'm afraid, I can see how the two could be confused. Your quest continues.
@Spare a Thought.
There are facts and the comments of one person. To anyone that had worked with, or was adjacent to the affected parties, they would know that the relationship between them was never going to be anything sexual, at best, it may have been closer to familial.
As I previously stated, I have heard multiple versions of this, from several people within the firm, accros multiple departments. And I'm just saying it is hard to believe a story that isn't consistent, and to that end I presume innocent until consistently guilty. If even 2 people from different departments gave me the same story (point-to-point detail) heck i'd even accept 1 or 2 differences - then I'd think about reconsidering my position.
To the Anonymous that referred to your comments, I'd like to completely agree with them, and @spare a though, I pitch to you this hypothetical...
You're in a new job, decide to ingratiate yourself with some of the staff by making up a story about a couple of members of staff, not knowing their standing, the situation escalates and you're called before HR fully aware that if the lie is exposed you'd lose your job. Do you then roll with the lie to save your job? or do you tell the truth and face the music?
It'd take a little while to write them all out, but while some seem to follow a relative pattern, almost all of the actual details change.
An example of this is:
It was security guard A that caught them (been with the company for a while)
It was security guard B that caught them (been with the company for a couple of months)
It was an agency security guard (not really any previous affiliation)
1 went upstairs, 1 went down
Both went upstairs
Both went downstairs
They entered the office together
They entered seconds apart
There was 5mins between entry
Or there were multiple 'scenarios' about the mechanics of what was happening when they were caught - I'll keep this PG though
@At the end of the day - I think its a bit early to be closing doors. We don't know who conducted themselves inappropriately, is the sacked couple were arrogant, if anyone abused positions of power (not sure this has even been alleged before!), if anyone used their appearance to 'get the jump' on colleagues, or whether this episode has been driven at all by colleagues who were jealous about a relationship. I think it will be interesting to see where this story leads.
Sinister elitist undertones displayed from all the doubters. Embarrassing and disturbing quite frankly the head in the sand refusal to even consider it happened. A real kick in the teeth for the working man who was just doing his job! Anyhoo they got the tin tack so it matters zero if hes made it up.
@"Sinister elitist undertones' - your problem is that you've lost objectivity to the extent that you regard anyone doubting or even questioning events as 'refusing to even consider it happened'. What is sinister is the sentiment 'they got the sack anyway so it doesn't matter if it was made up', which is unfortunately all too common the underlying reasons why people don't want allegations looked at too closely.
@FLV - what about the allegations of withholding privileges? Do you know if the partner who was sacked was in a position to do this, what the exact allegations were and what other privileges were allegedly withheld other than working from home? Were the complaints about withholding privileges made before or after the sex allegations?
@anonymous (there are too many anons, this is getting confusing!!) As far as I was made aware, the paralegal was granted that benefit of working from home on medical grounds, and that they were verified by doctor's note. I understand that the grounds of which were only known by the paralegal, the department head and 2 other members of staff (outside the team - for clerical reasons). I do not know what the medical grounds are and if I did, it would not be my place to say. Regarding the rejection of the privileges to other staff, I understand that another paralegal received ad-hoc privileges for "medical appointments" but was denied a permanent allowance on the grounds that it went against company policy (I tried this myself in the past and got shut down too - it was explained and I had no hard feelings about it), I also understand that one solicitor was denied, but I am unsure why, as there are several solicitors in the team that work from home frequently. So that point would be best explained by the head of the team.
No head of dept gets sacked without cause. Something must have happened and whatever it was, it caused someone to spill the beans to rollonfriday. I don't see anyone actually denying the sacking. Someone is sitting at home reading this story hiding under their covers hoping it all goes away nice and quick. Bad smells tend to linger. I suspect one of the problems is inappropriate people heading up teams due to possible recruitment issues at S&G. Just a thought.
I work at the firm and know the people involved here. The article is pretty accurate. Partner/head of team "bonking" paralegal, who was also seeing another solicitor in the office (not common knowledge until now). They were caught "bonking" more than once in the office, an investigation was conducted and both were fired. The inside details of HR's investigation are not known, obviously, so there may be more to it. Both really nice people though.
@Oh come on - "No head of dept gets sacked without cause" - "oh come on" indeed! Its always a mistake (albeit a common one) to think that because someone is accused of something or because someone is fired or resigns that "something must have happened" to justify it. Nobody is denying the sacking and nobody said they were. What do you think the recruitment issues are?
@FLV - thanks, very interesting. Puts a different complexion on what may have happened here.
What a load of waffle, i might just name all the parties involved and be done with all this bollocks...
For those claiming to know the facts because you work at the firm, unless you’ve heard it from the pair’s mouth, you really only know what has been said by others in the firm. No one knows anything, apart from the two involved who are being scrutinised over the internet!
anon “oh come on”indeed! I’m sure you have, by now, read the post above yours. As for your last question, well I’m sure S&G are inundated with CVs from top lawyers. Let’s hope so, they may then be able to replace all those that have jumped ship.
@"I work at the firm" - how do you know its true that they were bonking? Asking because some other accounts cast some doubt on whether or not they were and there are suggestions that there may indeed be more too it. Although the details of the HR investigation isn't known, it seems that there may be some information which wasn't considered in the investigation. Surely only the people involved can know if bonking took place, or possibly the people who disturbed them (if they were disturbed).
@"Oh come on" - I did indeed see the comment you refer to, but what is the relevance to your points?
@Waffle - no need to name names, but what happened then?
'I did indeed see' -
To make it clear; the only assumption I made was that SOMETHING (no specifics) must have happened for two people to be sacked following an internal investigation.
Now, it may be a regular occurrence for two people to be sacked following internal investigations in your place of work for doing nothing, but I'd be so bold as to suggest that really doesn't happen in most places.
There appear to be a few colleagues that have confirmed something went on....I struggle to understand, why in the circumstances, an assumption that something went on, is such a problem to you?
I am of course glad that it appears I have explained adequately the potential recruitment issues at S&G.
Always amazes me how comment boards always seem to have someone that never makes any assumptions, but clearly likes to read them. Good on you, you are quite unique.
@SOMETHING (no specifics) - as I say, its always a mistake (albeit a common one) to think that because someone is accused of something or because someone is fired or resigns that "something must have happened" to justify it. There's no getting away from that. Still don't get your point on the relevance of the recruitment issues.
Glad to hear something was done about it as I’m sure this kind of thing happens all the time! I’ve been through something similar at another firm when my married boss (partner/head of team) was having an affair with his assistant solicitor. They made the working environment horrific for everyone else & it was so disruptive. The assistant solicitor got lots of favouritism (WFH & I knew they would always support each other so I could never say anything etc) & I was bulllied by them both. HR did nothing about it which was very disappointing. I ended up leaving which was the best thing I ever did as it was a toxic & corrupt environment
I am @ "I work at the firm", and I do know the people involved here and have heard it from one of them personally, hence knowing it is true. I don't want to say much more in case they can work out who I am!!
@"Glad to hear" - sorry about your circumstances, but that might not be what happened here. Each case is different.
@"I work at the firm" - I see, well its certainly possible that its true. Would be inteteresting to know if the one who didn't tell you agrees that it took place.
anon @ - I see. well its.......
Which one is that then? The one that may be considered more culpable (as an example - abused a position of power) and hasn't yet found another job (the article suggests the paralegal has)? If I was a betting person, I'd say the one you elude to, is the one that has more to lose as with this doing the rounds there wont be many head of dept jobs on offer to them. That doesn't make any denial on their part very credible. Good to see you sticking up for them through the thread though.
@"Abused a position of power" - according to your logic, anyone who has something to lose must be guilty of what they're accused of as in your view their denials aren't credible. Its this type of mindset which sees people sacked for things they haven't done. Don't know what happened here, but generally its wrong to assume guilt just because someone has something to lose by saying they're innocent.
LOL Great stuff guys!
@according to your logic - Back in the real world - investigations, then dismissals, posts from people that know the individuals - oh, it's perfectly 'logical' to assume something inappropriate and very unprofessional went on.
@Back in the real world - not a logical assumption, but a common mistake/tactic to selectively look at the available information and to place weight on an investigation without knowing what the investigation involved in order to reach the desired conclusion.
Thanks Bog Brush, your approval means a lot!
Blimey, imagine if she got pregnant ??
I will respond to the various messages shortly, but to @"I work at the firm" I didn't want to divulge, for the point that it would make me seem impartial. I know one party well and have spoken to both about the rumour and know that you are speaking utter bulls**t. They have both vehmently denied that the rumour ever happened. If you have the balls to lie, you should have the front not to be anonymous.
*make me not seem impartial
@ former lord Varys
So the fact someone denies something to you means they must be innocent? They couldn't possibly be lying? But everyone else is? Neither could possibly have told anyone any different? We can close all our prisons, halt all investigations
Shame you weren't heading up the HR investigation or you could have avoided a terrible miscarriage of justice. I guess S&G are having to defend unfair dismissal claims then?
@anon (19th Oct) I have heard from both and can confirm that S&G will be defending 2 unfair dismissal claims in the near future. I find the opinions of people that weren't integral, completely superfluous and hearsay at best. I see it no different to hearing the story from my mum's, hairdresser's, daughter's best mate in Leeds, if you weren't there and you weren't directly affected by the rumour - your opinion is one that has been contorted by Chinese whispers. At worst, I find it an unflattering rumour that has only brought to light the true value of the people spreading it. The on-duty security guard's written statement differed from their verbal, and the "facts" listed weren't consistent. I am genuinely surprised that this whole thing ended the way it did. Both of the affected parties aren't stupid enough to jeopardise aspects of their personal life in such a slapdash manner, and IF in some alternative reality they did decide to do something this stupid, like anyone else they would have enough change in their pockets (between them or individually) to afford a hotel.
@Prison and HR fan - just because someone is accused of something doesn't mean they did it.
Sure. But equally, they may have. Presumably, the investigation drew the conclusion something happened. Or do S&G regularly sack people based on rumour?
@Presumably - they mave doesn't mean they did. Unwise to assume anything about an investigation without knowing what was being investigated. Don't know about this investigation and can't speak for S&G in particular, but in general HR often discipline or sack people based on allegations and rumour.
It is true (though some details have been skewed). The security guard had seen it but was not the one who reported it. Various individuals in the team knew about the relationship. The head of department (partner) is not a senior lawyer but as someone said earlier it is someone who was burdened with a lot of responsibility because there was no-one else to do it and S&Gs difficulties to recruit. It is not a long-standing RJW partner or someone ranked by the directories.
To the person bleeting on about unfair dismissal claims - what utter tosh. The paralegal found a new job within weeks of dismissal and so the cost of a claim far outweighs any loss. As regards the head of dept (partner), the issue arose because he effectively asked the person who stumbled upon them (someone very junior and not a solicitor) to step outside and come to an arrangement. The individual, being in their first legal role, feeling threatened and intimidated, quite rightly went to their line manager to seek advice. What happened thereafter was out of their control.
@ - "Which one is that then?" - I don't know then, that's why I'm asking then! Not good to see you making assumptions of guilt and mistaking wanting to know the facts for 'sticking up' for people though.
@ “Skewed details” – true but skewed suggests that it isn’t true. You’ve given a fairly detailed account, which if at all true means that the story as first reported was wrong in a number of important respects.
What are the difficulties to recruit you mention at S&G?
I’m not sure how you can be sure that bonking took place in the office unless you saw it.
As you’ll be aware there are other commenters here who are doubtful whether anything took place. There are a lot of conflicting stories about what happened, where, what the security guard did or didn’t do, whether or not there was a junior solicitor or someone else involved, etc. What about the claims (disputed) that the partner or head of department displayed favouritism, you don’t address that.
You seem to be a firm supporter of the sackings – you describe potential unfair dismissal claims as ‘bleating’ and ‘absolute tosh’, and the individual who escalated things as feeling ‘threatened and intimidated’ and ‘quite rightly’ going to their line manager. It does seem as though you’re not entirely impartial here. While I have some sympathy for the junior solicitor/member of staff if they did see something, I don’t think feeling ‘threatened and intimidated’ is a reasonable reaction (how do you know they were?) and I think they and the line manager may have over-reacted. Re the unfair dismissal claims, if these have been made and if they go ahead, the true facts may be established, and it is likely that any investigation around the claim will be a sight more in-depth than that made by HR. Remember that damages for unfair dismissal are not just limited to the monetary losses for lost earnings. We have various conflicting accounts of what happened here, and I think there is more to come out on this story.
Based on the initial report and the comments since, I’m beginning form a view of what I think happened here, and I will be following further developments with interest.
Have the unfair dismissal claims been made yet?
This was not the first time paralegal & partner were having it off. I can report the following: that both went off for a quick sh*g during the firm's summer boat party. It was obvious from those that were there that they were both pretty drunk, leaving lover boy associate heartbroken. Then again, said paralegal was never really single, so I don't feel a great deal of sympathy for him either. Anyways, it is surprising that nothing was done re the boat party incident or paralegal's work, which of course suffered as she was always 'working from home'. Let me be very clear, this was going on for some time and it isn't surprising at all. Kudos to office jnr for finding them, though !