Slaughter and May is discussing the prospects of a future trainee with the Solicitors Regulation Authority after they were sent messages which he wrote on social media as a teenager.

The future trainee, whom RollOnFriday is identifying only as 'Jabo' because he has been completely done over, was reported to Slaughter and May and the SRA by a 'whistleblower', who called themselves 'Anonymous Source'. Anonymous Source sent an email on Wednesday evening informing the firm and the profession’s regulator that, "This individual has posted some seriously offensive material".

"I do not take sending this to a firm's Graduate Recruitment and HR lightly", wrote Anonymous Source. "As well as providing a link to his Facebook page above, I am also attaching some screenshots of posts he has made that I felt were particularly shocking", they said.

'Jabo' wrote the messages on his Facebook page between 2012 and 2013 when he was just 18 and 19 years old. He told RollOnFriday they were inside jokes which should be read in context.

In one of the six examples provided by Anonymous Source, a friend told Jabo, "'when a nigger like me makes it....the whole 'hood makes it' and i will be around from 9th august till 2nd of sept." Jabo, who is not black, replied, "why are you quoting B.I.G. to me niggahh and thats sickk you all finished now?"


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In another of the messages, a friend messaged Jabo, "miss you bro, told your flatmates about the time you fucked a melon or wanked in a cinema yet man?" Jabo responded, "Miss you to bro, told your flat mates you got off with a girl with 5 different types of semen in her mouth?!"


jabsem


 

Anonymous Source, who appears to have trawled through years of Jabo’s messages for material, also provided screenshots to the SRA and Slaughter and May of what they said were “deeply concerning” messages. In them, Jabo used the words "fresh meat", which is also the name of a popular Channel 4 comedy series, mentioned letting women "sit on our faces", and joked that a 50-year-old woman had lied about her age and was actually much younger. Anonymous Source claimed that Jabo's messages "degraded, sexualised and demeaned women".


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"I am personally of the opinion that the material which [Jabo] has posted on his Facebook - publicly and therefore accessible to anyone including clients - is deeply offensive and brings the legal profession into serious disrepute, whether under SRA Principles or not", Anonymous Source told Jabo’s future employer and the regulator.


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"I would question whether a reputable law firm such as Slaughter and May would want an individual who behaves in this way to represent it, especially given that many workplaces continue to struggle with a 'laddish' culture, sexism and, in some cases, racial slurs", added Anonymous Source. "This individual may already have brought the profession into disrepute, and could feasibly do so again in the future".


mac


 

A shocked Jabo told RollOnFriday it was important to understand the context of what he had written back in 2012 and 2013. "All those messages are clearly an exchange of inside jokes", he said.

The future trainee explained that "sitting on my face" was a phrase his friend had used endlessly on holiday and which Jabo was turning back on him, while "the n word was in relation to a biggie song". Jabo pointed out to RollOnFriday that his comment about the 50-year-old was actually subverting the stereotype that women pretend they are younger than they are.

In a statement Slaughter and May said it was talking to the SRA. “We take this matter very seriously”, said the firm. “We are in dialogue with the SRA and therefore it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this stage.”

Hill Dickinson and RPC cut ties with members of Exeter University's Law Society in 2018 over significantly more disturbing comments made in a WhatsApp group.

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Comments

Anonymous 31 January 20 08:49

Glad some attention is being drawn to the dangers of cancel culture. He was a kid, and it was unfair of the other person to weaponise those youthful ‘mistakes’ (most of which are defensible even if he uses spicy terms)

Anon 31 January 20 08:50

Poor bloke.

I read through expecting to see something bad and it's a complete non-story. If Slaughters and the SRA do anything it will be a really poor show and I would hope that the partners and the firm robustly back him up in dealing with the regulator. 

For what it's worth, this business of digging through old social media posts from years ago (particularly when the person concerned was a teenager) is questionable even when the posts are genuinely offensive, but in this case I can't see anything other than a teenage boy engaging in the usual tedious banter with his mates.

Anonymous 31 January 20 08:51

Christ. I am so relieved no-one has a written record to recite back to me what I said when I was a teenager. We live and we learn. Stop hammering people for growing up.

Anonymous 31 January 20 08:57

8:51 i don’t think rof is hammering him? They go big on the fact the source who ratted him out has it in for the guy - it seems clear where their sympathies lie

ShootyMcShootyface 31 January 20 09:04

This has got "grudge" written all over it.

What kind of psycho trawls someone's ancient social media posts, except 

a) aggrieved ex

b) fellow trainee concerned they won't make the grade, so determined to knobble the opposition

c) journalist

d) A Perfectly Normal Human Being from the discussion board?

Sadly, I suspect that, this being a minor and uncomplicated issue, the SRA will devote their entire capacity to it, probably pulling people off more important things, and crucify Jabo.

Anonymous 31 January 20 09:05

Like other commenters, I was expecting to see something genuinely offensive. Instead, this is just some laddish “banter”: funny? No. Tedious? Yes. But I’d bet a large proportion of men who graduated in the mid-00s to mid-2010s have engaged in something similar. 
I very much doubt Slaughter and May’s client base is digging through the historic social media posts of a trainee on their matters.

I really hope they do the right thing and simply tell the guy to be a bit more careful with his privacy settings and let this lie. No one deserves to have their career ruined over some poor taste, but ultimately harmless, social media posts between friends. 

Anon 31 January 20 09:06

very unpleasant and vindictive from 'anon' to "report" this. 

if anyone has teenage kids please warn them that anything they write may be taken out of context 5 yrs later to attack them and their character 

ShootyMcShootyface 31 January 20 09:14

Good advice, 09:06 nonny.

I've already scared the shit out of my teenage son. He subscribed to an insta channel called "Dirty Memes" or similar. It was actually, as far as I can tell, Overwatch and Star Wars memes, but Mrs Shooty hit the roof about the "dirty" bit as she was concerned that it was pron. 

So I did the dad thing and gave him a lecture about his future, and gave him examples of how things like this can affect your life.

Probably shouldn't have told him about the Claire Swire email, mind. He found that a little TOO interesting.

Anonymous 31 January 20 09:15

He will be asked to delete the messages and not engage in that behaviour again and that's all.

The SRA can do fuck all, as the Principles did not apply to him at the relevant time and he has no civil or tribunal judgement against him for the comments.

In fact, the grass as done him a favour as if he was actually a trainee already and these were brought to the SRA and SM's attention having started, the SRA would have jurisdiction now that the new Standards and Regulations have been introduced under Principles 2 and 6 for his conduct out of practise. 

Guess it may need to be referenced in his AD1 to admit him as a solicitor, but cant really see it blocking him to be honest.

Anon 31 January 20 09:16

This takes a really awful type of person to dig through old social media posts and potentially ruin someone’s career just to satiate their own jealousy. I hope Slaughter & May realise that this is not exclusive behaviour to this person and many people have posted far worse without repercussion.

Disgrace 31 January 20 09:38

It’s clearly just silly and juvenile banter between teenage boys. Its on fb so foolish for them to have communicated there but it’s clearly meant to be private albeit quite tasteless joking. It’s a disgrace that someone who obviously has a vendetta against this guy is trying to ruin his career over it and that the firm and SRA, presumably both keen to virtue signal and out “woke” eachother, did not just treat the “anonymous” source (ex girlfriend maybe?) with disdain. False accusations of racism are very nasty.
 

So should we all trawl through fb, Instagram, WhatsApp chat groups and report to the SRA any careless use of words or non politically correct JOKES going back 10 years from all our solicitor friends? This is not what the SRA is supposed to be about and it is a huge disservice to the profession, when so much bullying and harrasement does not get properly dealt with, that  they are giving this time. If they do give the guy a hard time, does this mean that they will investigate whenever anyone sends them historical comments that based on today’s standards are deemed acceptable? By who?!

I sincerely hope common sense prevails and that the SRA, instead of destroying this guy and his career, sends a message that they will look unkindly in accusation of this nature and do not expect to be used to settle scores.

And as for you Slaughters, Shame on you for throwing one of your own under the bus.

Anonymous 31 January 20 09:41

9:38 - slaughters hasn't thrown him under the bus. It's given the only answer it could.

Dearie 31 January 20 09:45

So glad social meeja wasn't around when I was at uni. This is a complete non-story and is nowhere in the league of what those Exeter students were doing. It's not even offensive. I said and did much worse at uni (also female).

If the anon source is in the legal industry might it be relevant to refer them to the SRA for making unfounded accusations? 

Anonymous 31 January 20 09:46

Wow I was expecting much worse. This is nothing compared to the terrible "banter" I am sure exists at the start of my Facebook and used to be on my MySpace.

I really need to make sure I don't fall out with any online trolls...

Whoever submitted this to the SRA and Slaughters needs a slap TBH

Anonymous 31 January 20 09:48

None of those posts look particularly bad to me. It's just banter between two teenage friends. 

It would be very disappointing if Slaughters or the SRA do anything more than gently encourage this person to take a look at his historic social media profiles. 

Disgrace 31 January 20 09:49

Not true, Anon at 941. Slaughters could have said they do not believe this is a notifiable issue and hence that there is no need to report to or discuss with SRA. Instead, as the article shows, they virtue signal with how “serious” the matter is and that they are discussing with SRA. 

Anonymous 31 January 20 10:19

@Disgrace

The whistleblower reported the matter both to Slaughters and the SRA. If you seriously think it was an option for Slaughters to tell the SRA "We're going to ignore this, and you're going to do the same?". Obviously, had only Slaughters been notified, it may well have determined there was no need to contact the regulator, but once the regulator is seized of the matter all you can do is follow their lead (whilst trying to guide them from behind).

Anon 31 January 20 10:19

Since when has historically making a bad joke or silly comment to a friend been a reportable offence for the SRA to get involved in? They are not the morality police. Similarly for Slaughters, is there a requirement for your trainees to have a sense of humour deemed “acceptable”? Are you going to ask all your future trainees to list out the jokes they ever made before so you can check they meet the required PC standard of your blue blood firm?
 

and before all you Islington Corbynite luvvies and Swinson “lost my seat” liberals  start screaming “Rayceessst” at me, know I am an Indian guy. 

Anonymous 31 January 20 10:30

Not a shade on what some companies (read: city law firms' clients) get away with. A sacking would be hypocrisy.

Disgrace 31 January 20 10:32

Anon @ 1019, that is simply not correct. You can tell the regulator that you have considered the matter and do not believe it is notifiable to them. If they disagree, they will tell you. I never said Slaughters should ignore it (so please don’t misquote me!) Giving a message you have considered and don’t think it is notifiable is very different from the message Slaughters gave, at least as far as the article suggests. And they must have known the potential damage to the trainee but as I say, under the bus with him!

CaptHaddock 31 January 20 10:32

What shooty said. 

Do spare journos have time in hand to trace which candidate is joining which firm for TC?

Capt Haddock 31 January 20 10:34

Anon @ 10.19 - you could be indian and "Rayceessst". 

Agree with your point though. 

Anonymous 31 January 20 10:41

Agree that S&m’s response was justifiable. What else can it say when the whole thing’s gone to the SRA? Even when there’s nothing to it, firms have to go through the motions. The firm’s public statement (if that’s all of it, assume it is) makes no judgment call on the messages other than to say it’s taking the matter seriously - and it could hardly say it’s taking it with a chuckle. I hope it advises him to delete his juvenile banter (from when he was a juvenile) and use it a lesson for the future. 

Also, I thank Christ On his donkey they didn’t have texting, social media or cameras on every phone when I was a teenager. A motivated enemy could have me living in a cave as a pariah otherwise.

Personally I think everything pre-20 whjxh isn’t against the law should be struck from the record. We need to give kids space to f*** up  

Anon 31 January 20 10:53

SRA needs to get a grip and figure out what they're role and jurisdiction is.  Banter between kids should not concern them.  Senior Partners who flaunt regulations seem too well able for them so they prefer to focus on kids and trainees they can intimidate.  Bully boys repeatedly focusing on easy targets they should be helping not threatening and turning a blind eye to the activities of the big boys. 

Reminds me of not so historic stories from the US of crooked cops making an example of random black kids smoking pot while getting paid off by the dealers/bosses to overlook the millions they're making/importing.

Anon 31 January 20 10:54

Agree Capt that you can be Indian and Rayceeeest. But as we know, the woke luvvies are far more likely to scream unfounded accusations of racism at white guys they don’t agree with than Indian guys like me :)

Slartibartfast 31 January 20 11:03

Glad to see the general support on the boards for this chap.  Stupid stuff said when he was a kid; there but for the grace of God goes everyone. 

On the other hand, let's consider the malicious actions of "Anonymous Source" who has clearly set about to destroy the career and reputation of another.  Hiding behind the seemingly inassailable walls of woke culture and being offended on somebody else's behalf, the actions of this individual are spiteful and malevolent.  Motivation? Hard to tell on the facts, but the pungent odour of jealousy abounds. 

Seriously though, who tries to destroy somebody else's career in such a targeted, calculated way?  I hope the SRA and the Slaughterhouse see some sense here, and take no further action.  If "Anonymous Source" is also regulated by the SRA, perhaps they ought to consider investigating them for conduct unbecoming of a solicitor or bringing the profession into disrepute?  Unfortunately, they can't withdraw a practing certificate just for "being a nasty, vindictive, cowardly piece of work". What goes around...

Anon 31 January 20 11:26

What a sad life Anonymous Source must lead. Whatever their reasons, it is extremely unprofessional of them to contact both the firm and SRA instead of dealing with their issues in private. 

I hope S&M and the SRA share the same views as the rest of these commenters in knowing that everyone has said some things in their teen years that they probably wouldn't want blasted to the public.

Tangent Boy 31 January 20 11:32

SRA should nip it in the bud very very quickly. No need to let him stress out for weeks. What sort of person does this to someone?

Anon 31 January 20 11:39

Why don't people edit their social posts before going off to do their training contracts? Totally agree that "Anonymous Source" is a nasty piece of work.

Anonymous 31 January 20 12:38

Poor kid, must be going through hell having his future in the balance over this nonsense

Wtf 31 January 20 12:51

This is exactly why I’ve deleted all my old social media posts. “Anonymous Source” is a seriously sad and bitter individual. 

Alan B'Stard 31 January 20 12:58

Weaponising a teenager's social media eight years later to torpedo a future TC is some serious Alan B'Stard behaviour. Feel sorry for the guy.

Whoever the source is, sincerely hope common sense prevails and that the SRA and S&M do not reward that kind of devious behaviour. The anonymous source is certainly a menance to society with that mindset. 

That is an insane effort to assassin something as minor as a future trainee. What would that person do if serious economic values were at stake such as clients or a partnership?

Mr Coffee 31 January 20 13:57

What kind of a strange, sad, weird little man takes it upon himself to mount a vendetta such as this?

The most distressing thing is that Slaughters didn't simply invite Anonymous Source to crawl back under the dank and depressing rock from which he'd just emerged.

Anonymous 31 January 20 14:53

I’m betting aggrieved ex.  As someone who has been the victim of a specious regulatory report from an angry LIP opponent, I can say that that kind of complaint is the perfect way for someone with a grudge to cause stress to another with zero consequence to him or herself.  Massive amount of paperwork, embarrassing, takes an age to resolve, and even when the regulator decides there’s no issue (as in my case) there’s nothing akin to an adverse costs order or even a judgment telling the complainant off for wasting everyone’s time.  I do see why the system has to be like that, but there is scope for someone with no morals to just take advantage.

Litigators? 31 January 20 15:24

If Jabo is cleared by the SRA (or even if he escapes with a reprimand), can he petition the SRA to release the name of the anonymous source in the public interest?

If, as mentioned above, the "source" is connected with the legal profession, the real SRA public interest action seems to be to make an exception to anonymity and let everyone know. 

This would provide notice of this person's frail mental state, which may influence how other lawyers deal with them. Any takers for a pro bono case?

Anonymous 31 January 20 18:25

Not much to add to the previous comments. There is an argument for referring the complainant to the SRA or whatever professional body they are a member of, if any, for malicious complaining. S&M ought to have said that while they were referring the complaint to the SRA they had investigated and were not of the opinion that further action was merited.

Woke luvvie 01 February 20 02:09

I am a woke luvvie. 
 

I demand the right to hurl unfounded accusations of racism and sexism and others “isms” against people I have a disagreement with or whose opinions differ to mine, even if it could mean destroying their reputations. I demand the right to take offence on behalf of imagined victims even where none at all was intended and where the so called victim did not take any. I will silence debate and try and control not only what you say but what you think through the constant threat of weaponising minority rights against you. Everything for me is about race and gender and I want  it to be like that for you too. You may call that regression but that is because you are Rayceest! 
 

I am woke and I am a luvvie. If you dare to challenge me I will scream and scream nasty character destroying allegations against you until I am sick.

Rage, rage against the lying of the right 03 February 20 02:36

Jabo deserves to be sacked for laziness and stupidity.  There's a reason why sloth is one of the 7 deadly sins.  Why didn't he go through his old posts and delete them years ago.

The boy's an idiot and there's no place for him in a grown up workplace.

Escaping Puppy 03 February 20 18:16

This is proper bollox.

 

Unfortunately regulatory bodies (and also the criminal justice system) are now setup in favour of the complainant (who can often remain anonymous), while the 'subject' of their complaint has their life, reputation and possibly future livelihood taken apart.

Hmmm 03 February 20 18:49

Bringing the profession into disrepute- give me a break. This is locker room lads chat. Poor taste, yes, but who can honestly say they haven’t done things like this before?

if you want a real example of bringing the profession into disrepute, perhaps look at the people defending terrorists, ambulance chasing and attacking veterans. Now that gives lawyers a bad name in the real world...