Lawyers at Watson, Farley & Williams have been left 'disappointed' by an investigation into a partner's conduct which they believe is a whitewash, according to sources.  

The partner, whom RollOnFriday is not naming and will call 'Frotto', is alleged to have bullied junior male lawyers and been inappropriate with female staff.

Examples of bad behaviour provided to RollOnFriday included "smacking female associates on the bum" and "'accidentally' brushing up against secretaries".

Frotto allegedly made female colleagues uncomfortable by telling them, uninvited, that he "finds them attractive" and asking them if they would "consider a relationship with him". One source accused Frotto of using firm-sponsored away weekend trips as "an opportunity to attempt to dabble with colleagues".


en

Frotto was sure they loved it really.


An insider said Frotto was known to management "as having behavioural issues", but although WFW went “through the motions” of an investigation, it was "so limited in scope as to be entirely useless". They said it was "completely disappointing to the associates who hoped for some sort of justice".

"Why this remains tolerated is a WFW mystery", they said, adding that it left lawyers with the impression that management “has decided to condone his awful behaviour".

In a statement the firm said, "We take all allegations of misconduct extremely seriously and deal with them appropriately”.

RollOnFriday's verdict: let the lift decide.

If you haven't groped unwilling colleagues, take the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2020 survey.

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Comments

TooMuch 22 November 19 08:50

its just like the failure of CC to investigate a management figure in Asia notwithstanding a tsunami of complaints including from partners. Keep the truth submerged and discredit and intimidate those who insist on being heard.  Don't ask, don't properly investigate, because they already knew what the answers would be.....

Anonymous 22 November 19 08:54

What were the complaints about TooMuch? It looks as if the complaints in the WFW case above were investigated but not upheld.

Cautious Karpov 22 November 19 10:43

Anon 09:39. Yes it is a boys’ club and I bet he’s a profitable partner as well

Also Anon 22 November 19 10:47

Oh, Anonymous, even if you respond to every comment here the MPs still won't be your friends

Beetlejuice 22 November 19 10:58

Quelle surprise - a law firm doesn't practice what it preaches when it comes to a creepy partner (who no doubt thinks he's great fun and it's all due to "PC gone mad") who has a good following.  

Seen day-in, day-out across the City and beyond. 

9.39 + 1 22 November 19 11:01

Dear 9.48, if we listed out every way, we would be here for the rest of time. Sadly, I need to go and work 45 times as hard before the days out so that I can receive half of the recognition of the Etonian princes. Another time though! 

Anon 22 November 19 11:12

What ever happened to the new culture initiative?  Isn't the anonymous poster the one heading it up??

Not going very well is it. 

New anon 22 November 19 11:25

Yes,  no point hiding "anonymous".   You are the only one defending this behaviour.   Why be anonymous, everyone knows who you are anyway. 

 

A 22 November 19 11:36

So just to clarify, as long as the partner is bringing in the money WFW couldn't care less who's bum he rubs?

Nice place to work.  No wonder people are leaving in their droves. 

Anonymous 22 November 19 11:43

Every commenter is anonymous 11.12 and 11.25. Which posts are defending behaviour and what behaviour are they defending?

New anon 22 November 19 11:57

Anonymous 22,  you are the only person saying that maybe, just maybe it didn't happen.   Yet everyone knows it happened and the chuckle brothers chose the cash over people's rights.

If you honestly believe what you are saying why don't you tell us your name?

No need to be anonymous, the mp's will look after you. 

Don't bother though as everyone knows who the only person defending this is could possibly be. 

Anonymous 22 November 19 12:02

Yet you remain anonymous 11.57.

What happened and how do you know?

Your job is to convince people it happened.

Anon 22 November 19 12:08

Why would anyone choose to stay at this firm or contemplate joining?
 

There has been a consistent theme of negative issues and very poor morale associated with this firm over the past few months being reported on ROF.

Simon Cowells new friend 22 November 19 12:32

Look, I get it.   You have to be on here defending it because it's your job.  

Well done,  I think we can all agree you are doing a great job on that front. 

Let's just hope these type of "unsubstantiated allegations" never happen to your wife or daughter.   Maybe then you would realise how completely unacceptable it is. 

Anonymous 22 November 19 12:34

Other than the broken lift  what are the negative issues and poor morale which have been reported?

Anonymous 22 November 19 12:46

Defending what? What are the allegations?

Likewise hope your husband or son is never subject to unsubstantiated allegations. Then you'll see how unacceptable they are.

Anon 22 November 19 12:48

Good on Anonymous for fulfilling his role to the best of his ability. Unfortunately, the billions of women subject to sexual harassment in the workplace aren’t afforded the same privilege. 

Still at WFW 22 November 19 13:05

Let's see: age discrimination lawsuit, terminating long service employees, useless IT, rubbish facilities, a laughable website, complaints about bullying and harassment chucked in the bin, outsourcing functions... Looks like WFW is in the running for RoF's Worst Culture  award for the second year in a row.

 

A friend of Simon's friend 22 November 19 13:11

Seriously?

Are you honestly saying it didn't happen? 

How do you defend this rubbish?

Everyone knows it happened. 

Even WFW lawyers have said how disappointed they are at the "whitewash"

You really should stop now, you are bringing the incredibly low name of WFW even lower. 

New anon 22 November 19 13:19

Can we have an official comment from WFW on this?

Maybe the D & I team can explain how unwanted bum rubbing is inclusive?

Anon 22 November 19 14:02

@anonymous 12:46

"What are the allegations?"

Mmmhhh lets see:

Bullying

Smacking females bums 

Brushing up against secretaries 

Telling staff he finds them attractive and would they consider a relationship with him

Using firm sponsored trips to "dabble with colleagues"

Apart from that he appears a model of respectability. 

I assume toy would have no problem with your daughter working for him?

No wonder WFW are in trouble when that's the standards they aspire to.

Anonymous 22 November 19 14:22

@14.02 - and we know the allegations are true because? mmmhhh let's see.

What is the allegation about 'dabbling with colleagues' - what does it mean?

S E Lion 22 November 19 14:29

It's a huge indictment of feminism and the so-called "me too" movement that we now have to take these allegations seriously instead of putting them firmly in the pre-menstrual hysteria dustbin where they belong.

Anonymous 22 November 19 14:33

What comments do you think are defending 'this rubbish' 13.12?

Everyone knows what happened?

Anonymous 22 November 19 14:40

I assume you'd have no problem with you son working for people making unsubstantiated allegations 14.02?

Anonymous 22 November 19 14:53

I for one agree with the not so anonymous defender of WFW, who like a knight in shining armour is defending a poor misunderstood partner.

As these allegations are so preposterously untrue,  why doesn't Mr Dabble come on here and defend himself?

Java Joe 22 November 19 15:11

Is there enough of a stink around this sh1t at wfw for it to be referred to the SRA?

Mr Dabble 22 November 19 15:26

Thanks for trying Anonymous. A valiant effort old boy but you’ve embarrassed yourself quite enough now. And anyway, I got away with it remember! So let’s all just calm down and have a beer and a bum squeeze to welcome the weekend. 

Mr Bronson to you son 22 November 19 15:32

Won’t be the first time there’s been a whitewash at WFW. This will make FOTY 2019 interesting reading.

Anon as well 22 November 19 15:50

Why are you wasting your time defending "the Dabbler"?

If you think the MP's are going to notice your loyalty,  you are wrong. They don't really like you, it's just convenient to have you around until they need a fall guy. 

SRA time I say. 

Maybe you could have a new motto on your fabulous website

WFW =We Fondle Women 

Anon123 22 November 19 16:35

Ok, let's settle this once and for all.

The managing partner who believes the "accused" is innocent and has never squeezed a bum in his life should allow said partner to chaperone his daughter for a weekend away. 

Im sure it will all be fine. 

Anonymous 22 November 19 16:39

Certainly "smacking female associates on the bum", "'accidentally' brushing up against secretaries" and saying that he "finds them attractive" is misconduct, but asking someone if they would "consider a relationship with him" is actually not, I think, provided that there is no hint of any abuse of imbalance of power/reporting line etc. They might answer "yes", and get married and have babies.

Still at WFW 22 November 19 16:50

Anonymous... You're beginning to sound like a WFW chatbot. What allegations? What comments? What whitewash? 

Anonymous 22 November 19 16:55

What comments do you think are defending anything 14.53 and 15.50?

What do you think are they defending?

Anon 22 November 19 17:06

One has to be amazed that senior management have managed to survive all of the negative press including this without any repercussions (as far as one can tell).
 
It says a lot about the governance of the firm and the lack of accountability.  

Anonny 22 November 19 18:02

Keep it going guys. Let's hope he reads these posts and then takes himself off to Coq D'Argent.

Anonymous 22 November 19 19:13

What managing partner 16.35? And would you let people making unsubstantiated allegations chaperone your son? You never answered that.

Anonymous 22 November 19 19:16

I'd rather he read the posts and realises not everyone believes unsubstantiated allegations 18.02.

Hey nonny nonny 22 November 19 19:28

Well, aren’t WFW’s comms/crisis management team having a fun filled Friday!

Anonymous 22 November 19 20:36

Unfortunately some of the accusations in the comments are so far fetched there's no need for them to crisis manage anything 19.28!

Anonymous 22 November 19 22:57

Indeed 16.39, and telling someone they're attractive isn't necessarily misconduct. And the other things are only misconduct if they actually happened.

Lord Broughton Gifford 22 November 19 23:44

For the love of God; those associates who have substantive knowledge of this just take it to the SRA

Anonymous 23 November 19 08:41

For the love of God; those associates who have substantive knowledge of this just take it to the SRA

Good idea.  No whistle-blower has ever lost her job or damaged her career after bringing wrong-doing to the attention of the relevant authorities.  

The Singapore Slinger 23 November 19 11:49

If the associates affected believe they have reasonable grounds of complaint and they have a reasonable belief that there’s been a whitewash/cover up then they should take it to the SRA. If management/partners are of the view that the original complaint is without foundation and/or there was no whitewash/cover up then they should have nothing to fear about it being investigated by the SRA. What isn’t helping this situation is what seems like wfw engaging in some half-arsed misdirected attempt at comms management by meaningless comments on here. There are clearly disaffected associates who don’t believe justice has been done. Grow up for goodness sake and manage it in a professional way because the firm’s reputation and the associates grievances deserve better. 

Anonymous 23 November 19 13:06

For the love of God; those associates who have substantive knowledge of this just take it to the SRA

Al Gore told an inconvenient truth.  George Bush got elected and Al Gore sleeps on a grating outside a chinese restaurant eating faeces and belching the national anthem for spare change.

I'm not sure I have much faith in justice anymore.

Anonymous 23 November 19 15:18

That's why it's so important to call out unsubstantiated and false accusations 8.41, because they give all whistleblowers a bad name.

In the case here the SRA are more likely to be interested in some of the people making accusations here than in the person accused.

Anonymous 23 November 19 18:37

Not every associate wants to go nuclear on their own career when an inappropriate partner makes moves. Calling the SRA or talking HR or management sounds easier than it actually is. When I was a trainee and propositioned by the managing partner of my firm, I honestly thought I would get fired for refusing to have sex with him. I knew as a matter of logic that i should have complained but I really was not confident that I would have a job at the end of it. I hope to god that no junior lawyer has to go through that in this hopefully enlightened day and age. 

Not at the table Carlos 23 November 19 20:36

Anonymous @15:18 What utter illogical horseshit. That comment comes across as a veiled threat to the associates. Are you a WFW chatbot by any chance?

Anonymous 23 November 19 22:34

Growp up The Singapore Slinger - the people making accusations have had many chances to present their case in the comments but have failed to do so. If they are of the opinion that they are not making malicious and deliberately untruthful allegations then they have nothing to fear from being investigated by the SRA.

Anonymous 23 November 19 22:38

The problem, 13.06, is that many accusers don't tell the truth, inconvenient or otherwise. Others present their case in such a hostile and unconvincing way that it appears unbelievable. Look at some of the comments on here.

They are the reason people lose faith in justice.

Anonymous 23 November 19 22:42

Its absolutely true Carlos @20.36 - try and be a bit more grown up when you disagree with something.

Most people reading the comments here would think the accusations are false. That's a shame because it might means people are less likely to believe true accusations. Are you a WFW chatbot by any chance, making absurd accusations so that people with genuine complaints aren't believed?

Anonymous 23 November 19 23:02

It wouldn't be relevant in a work context 18.39, not sure what job you do! and no, it wouldn't necessarily be misconduct.

Anonymous 23 November 19 23:05

Your problem, Singapore Slinger, is that there is absolutely no evidence of a large number of disaffected associates - it looks more like one or a very small number of commenters who have it in for the accused, quite possibly now with no basis, pretending to be multiple different people.

Anonymous 24 November 19 07:23

23rd @ 18.37 - I think it's a matter of education - I would always advise that if any male or female trainee is asked to have sex with the Managing Director of their firm it is highly unlikely that they will be sacked for refusing to do so. Its important that this is widely understood, and in this day and age people shouldn't worry about this.

The number of exaggerated and malicious accusations make it difficult for genuine claimants, as is the tendency for some people to believe any accusation they see, these are the real reason the process can be difficult for complainants and the SRA should be taking a tougher stance on these.

On the whole, the process needs to be as fair as possible, including by the complainants who shouldn't embellish claims with pejorative terms ('uncomfortable' for example). HR are generally not to be trusted, and sometimes orchestrate cover ups and other times throw the accused under a bus. Overall, the process needs to be fair to everybody, but I think it will always be difficult to be an accuser or accused in these types of claims. The process needs to be looked at to make it as fair as possible for both.

A non 24 November 19 08:00

If the accused or wfw management believe that the accusers are lying then why aren’t they reporting the accusers to the SRA? Perhaps because they aren’t lying and wfw/accused are just trying to spin it. Shameful if that is the case.

Anon 24 November 19 08:10

Anonymous, I work at this firm and am absolutely horrified by the way this is being dealt with. As are many others. The implicit threat, the utterly illogical points you are making - I sincerely hope you are actually in no way affiliated with the firm. 
 

Please could you confirm what sort of evidence you would require for an allegation to shift from unsubstantiated to substantiated? Is word of mouth from multiple women not enough? Would it ever be enough? 

Anon 24 November 19 09:12

‘Complainants who embellish claims with pejorative terms (uncomfortable for example)’

Pejorative: expressing contempt or disapproval

How else are women supposed to describe how a comment or an action has made them feel? That is quite literally the entire point? 

 

Anonymous 24 November 19 09:22

Not a threat at all V23, just the same observation most readers are likely to make about how the SRA might view some of the comments.

Must be worried about the accuracy of your accusations if you're posting the same comment pretending to be different people, then upvoting them multiple times. Casts doubt over the other allegations.

Philip Felcher 24 November 19 11:31

If the girls in the office don't want male attention then they probably shouldn't wear those short skirts and tight blouses.

I mean seriously, what red-blooded male is going to be able to resist that sort of thing.  Most of us have sniffed a female colleague's seat or shoes in an empty cublicle when working late, haven't we?

And was any harm done?  No.

The only difference between that and this chap is that people noticed.

We've all got to rub along together in this increasingly overcrowded world.  Might as well make the best of it.

What's all the fuss about? 24 November 19 11:40

This is how Hitler started.  Next thing you know people will be investigated for "inappropriate tweets" and no-one's allowed to do anything anymore.  If you can't tell the difference between assault an a little, friendly hand on the bum then we might as well all go home and castrate ourselves.

It's not as if he actually spanked someone.

Anonymous 24 November 19 12:44

This is what happens.  It used to be that men were men and women were women but now everyone's just people.  Ghostbusters was bad enough but now it's even in Charlie's Angels.  We're going to hell in a handcart and unless it stops then it'll never end.

Anonymous 24 November 19 13:32

I would always advise that if any male or female trainee is asked to have sex with the Managing Director of their firm it is highly unlikely that they will be sacked for refusing to do so

Are you okay babe?

Anon 24 November 19 19:46

I despair with WFW. Someone needs to resign.

Hands down worst firm of the year. Totally humiliating for the partnership. If they're not hanging their heads in shame something is very wrong.

Matey Boy 24 November 19 20:08

If the “Anonymous” comments attempting to defend the accused/firm are genuinely from the accused/firm then they come across as Grade A arseholes.

Anonymous 24 November 19 20:12

There is no threat 08.10 and the arguments are logical. There are not many people horrified by the way this is being dealt with, people are more likely to be horrified by the way ghd accusations are being made.

Before looking at evidence we'd need to know in detail what the accusations are. At the moment we don't. So the starting point would be a detailed list of allegations, not a serious of vague and hysterical sounding attacks. The next step would be to consider the evidence. This would be anything which supports the allegations, whatever they are. Multiple accounts from different women could be a form of evidence, provided it wasn't a witch hunt. Why you don't ask if multiple accounts from different men would constitute evidence and whether they ever would?

Anonymous 24 November 19 20:30

By giving a detailed complaint supported by evidence 9.12, instead of latching onto pejorative buzzwords. Strange you only refer to women.

Anonymous 24 November 19 20:31

But better than the quality of the accusations future lawyer. They're so bad there's no need for crisis management.

Anonymous 24 November 19 20:33

There are people who will take you at face value Philip and use it to support their accusations!