tyranto willkie farr

Try as it might, Willkie Farr couldn't work out why its lawyers were leaving.


A Willkie Farr partner's bullying behaviour has, it is claimed, driven at least four associates out of the firm's London office. On one occasion an ambulance was called after one of the partner's victims broke down.

The partner is still there, while lawyers have quit, been signed off with anxiety and received settlements from the firm, sources claimed. Several sources accused management of taking no meaningful action despite multiple complaints and incidents.

A spokesperson said, "there are inaccuracies in your story", but declined to specify what they were.

The partner, 'Tyranto', works in the firm's London office. RollOnFriday is not identifying the partner because sources were unwilling to go on the record with their own identities, citing their relatively junior positions in their firms and the effect doing so might have on their careers.

Tyranto's bullying was described as including intimidating behaviour such as slamming doors and shouting, as well as accusations that targeted lawyers were incompetent and did not care enough about their work. Sources gave an example of Tyranto criticising a lawyer for prioritising a serious family emergency over their work on Tyranto's matter, even though the lawyer had arranged cover.

"The line that was spun was '[Tyranto] just cares about the deal', but I’ve never met anyone who cares about the deal like that", said one ex-Willkie Farr solicitor.

The bullying was also public, which resulted in a senior lawyer who shared a room with one of Tyranto's victims being left "open mouthed" at the treatment meted out to them.

An associate who has now left the firm said that before they joined Willkie Farr, a partner at another firm warned them, "Don’t join, [Tyranto's] toxic". After leaving, the associate said they realised the experience had traumatised them.

"I’ve worked for, and with, plenty of difficult people, but there’s a difference between being difficult and being a bully", said one ex-Willkie Farr solicitor.

Lawyers suffered from anxiety as a result of the bullying, said multiple sources, and on one occasion an ambulance was called to the office after a solicitor had a breakdown.

"I believe it's only a matter of time before someone kills themselves", said a source, adding that the firm's "excuse that it's just the way American firms are is total bollocks. This is bullying on another level".

Sources said that evidence of bullying was forwarded to the management of the London office, but "nothing was done".

One of the latest solicitors to leave because of Tyranto's bullying was paid a sum "approaching the six figure bracket" after they raised a grievance, claimed a source.

Several years ago three associates left in the same week having cited Tyranto's bullying, one of whom received a settlement after raising a victimisation grievance, RollOnFriday understands. 

In response to a fresh wave of departures this year, Willkie Farr arranged to bring in a strategic consultant to speak to lawyers to determine the reasons for staff leaving, said a source. However, Covid led to the review being postponed. 

The external audit was sought despite "numerous" complaints on file and exit interviews which name Tyranto specifically, said the source, as the firm was "scared to deal" with the partner.

When further details were provided by RollOnFriday to Willkie Farr, the firm said in a statement that it had undertaken a "comprehensive and transparent 360 degree feedback project across the London office as part of an ongoing initiative”. The firm said it would not comment on internal personnel matters or former associates, but said it took the allegations “extremely seriously”.

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Comments

NotoriousP.I.G. 12 March 21 09:24

When are the legal blogs and news sites going to address University of Law making a mess up of their core exams again

Please please please Rof 12 March 21 09:44

[email protected] per capita ratio would have exposed this and saved careers, trauma, mental health .... come on RoF!

One bad egg can ruin it for everyone but as long as they bring in the $$$ management/other partners' will tolerate it. Applies across partnership firms as a whole, not just law. 

Anonymous123 12 March 21 09:46

Having worked there, can confirm it’s a terrible place to work with a seriously toxic work culture. About time someone called them out 

Paul 12 March 21 09:51

That behaviour seemed standard back in the 1990s

 Worked for a partner who would throw things at associates.  Met his match when he threw something at a Judge's daughter who threw it back at him.

AnonymousToday 12 March 21 09:52

Management have known for years.  The managing partner is busy managing his fiefdom and refuses to intercede in any meaningful way.  Tyranto's behaviour doesn't stop at associates either. [x] is known to treat everyone from secretaries to partners with the same level of disdain.

Worst of all, [x]'s not the only senior partner behaving this way at the firm.

Tyranto giganto 12 March 21 09:54

It’s important to report on this kind of stuff because law firms habitually brush bullying under the carpet because the bully is senior and/or a high biller.

Let’s hope Tyranto’s conduct is investigated and if found guilty of bullying, the reign of Tyranto is brought to a swift and brutal end.  
 

There’s usually a Tyranto and it’s usually somebody very senior who is always justifying their poor behaviour by claiming it is all done to protect the business.  

Anon 12 March 21 10:04

There is a toxic and manipulative bully at management level in my firm. Everyone knows who he is although thankfully he has just stepped down from management. He openly tells even partners of his who have tried to deal with him or complain about him that their careers will suffer if they don’t silence themselves. Its an Asian office of a London based firm but central management do nothing even though so many partners complained about him. He is not even a rainmaker, just part of the boys club. 

Anonymous 12 March 21 10:07

Jones Day's London office recently ejected their own "Tyranto" - about 10 years after they should have done - but better late than never. They are almost always on a collision course and sometimes all it takes is a small obstacle to send them spinning off the road and into a tree.

Reglawyer 12 March 21 10:10

Serious bullying, especially if there are concerns of retribution for those who complain about it, is SRA territory. The firm needs to self report and get this properly and independently investigated. These internal white wash investigations handled by his mates no doubt or people who have a vested interest in protecting the firm are a sham and cannot be relied upon. 

Anon 12 March 21 10:12

[email protected] 1004, I suspect I know the firm you are taking about, it’s my firm. The guy is still in the office pulling in big money but is doing nothing since stepping down. 

Anon 12 March 21 10:26

Cannot speak to other teams in the office but certainly this is certainly not true of the majority of the London teams at WFG or of the culture within the wider firm. My own experience has been extremely positive, and the leadership from the top both at the London MP level and from the chairmen in NY is also very inclusive and positive. 

Anonymous1245 12 March 21 10:35

It's a decent place to work generally but [x] is toxic and a bully and now needs to go. More recent hires and hungry junior partners will eagerly do the work which is largely fed by NY. 

Inhouser 12 March 21 10:56

Well it trickles down too. I am a senior lawyer at X bank. I was horrendously abused by a WF lawyer acting for my client on a call. If my client hadn’t been on too, I would have told her off and demanded her managing partner call me before hanging up. Uneffing believable behaviour for a professional. Plus she had no clue what she was talking about. I certainly wouldn’t give them work again. 

Zorg 12 March 21 11:19

@Tyranto until one day you have a size 11 landing in your balls. Some people understand only pain. 

Anon 12 March 21 11:28

I work at WFG London and have also been subject to the most awful bullying. I have raised it on a number of occasions and nothing was done. Avoid like the plague. 

Anonymous Today 12 March 21 11:32

Whatever happened to the associate that was doing the naughty with a partner during the office party - on another partner’s desk?  Cannae imagine they were nice to her.

Anon 12 March 21 11:57

I have also been working for WFG London for a number and years and can confirm this is a terrible place to work, I have also encountered bullying so I am glad to hear people speaking up.

90s Trainee 12 March 21 12:28

Paul 12 March 21 09:51

Yes that rings a bell about the (late, in my case) 90s. On several occaions a hole punch and assorted staplers came flying my way. I eventually left (payout? Hah!).

Shaken_Not_Stirred 12 March 21 12:38

“People raise their voices and slam doors in City Law Firm” non-shocka...

 

Is this what constitutes ‘news’ now on ROF? Should there be a ‘safe space’ sub forum for those who struggle with being told when they’re not very good. 
 

Point on the teddy bear where the hurty words hurt you. 
 

Seems like some junior lawyers need to grow up a bit. 

Anon 12 March 21 13:07

Shaken_Not_Stirred is entitled to their opinion but unless they've experienced Tyranto's particular brand of crazy it's not insightful. I've worked in non-cuddly city law firms for well over a decade and never come across anything like it. Far worse than the partners at my old firm who would throw the occasional stapler or make lewd remarks/nicknames about their associates. Also Tyranto's bullying is at all levels - juniors, seniors and I believe even partners. 

Anonymous 12 March 21 13:07

from their webpage (they should measure themself on it => failed in any way): 

 

Willkie combines the professional benefits of practicing at a world-class firm with the personal rewards of an environment that values both attorney development and lasting relationships.

We draw strength from our collaborative style and inclusive culture and strive to hire lawyers from diverse backgrounds interested in making real contributions to our practice. Whether you are just starting your career or are considering a move, there are opportunities at Willkie.

SteveSays 12 March 21 13:26

@ NOTORIOUS P.I.G .... 

 

if you want those kinda news then head over to Legal Cheek. RoF is a more grown up legal news site

Fantasist 12 March 21 13:53

Inhouser @ 10:56

"I would have told her off and demanded her managing partner call me"

...I'm sure you would have...and it goes without saying that her managing partner would have called you 

Nottelling 12 March 21 14:56

Been there, done that. Worked under a partner who went through 8 associates in the (13 months) time i was there. In the end I left because I had violent fantasies of killing said partner.  

Anonymous 12 March 21 15:44

I’d rather work for this dude at this firm, than other US firms without the bullying issue tbh. Shouting at me, hitting me does nothing as I, like my colleagues, are emotionally dead inside and physically numb in our relentless pursuit of le dollar. Marginal derisory pay increases, not getting bonus for artificial reasons, rotten carrot dangling, the 24/7 7 day a week waterboarding of endless work with fake deadlines and urgency. Yes I may not have bruises nor a tribunal claim, but they have ripped out my soul and spat on me in a technically legally legitimate but morally bankrupt way. Management at those relevant US firms are also liars who should all be barred from the profession, but the SRA are far too interested with sanctioning paralegals for trivial mistakes.

Anonymous 12 March 21 16:02

at 15:44: Have you seen their add ( https://www.rollonfriday.com/news-content/cheating-ex-willkie-boss-escapes-ban-after-pleading-i-destroyed-my-life ) ?

What sane person can still consider them as reputable and decent?

Luigi 12 March 21 16:10

@ Shaken_Not_Stirred 12 March 21 12:38

“People raise their voices and slam doors in City Law Firm” non-shocka...

Shouting and slamming doors might not be unusual in city law firms and a lot of junior lawyers might have accepted working in that sort of environment. However, it's still bullying.

 

Gripper 12 March 21 17:34

With this sort of thing and the comments, is it that some people don't recognise this behaviour to be bullying or just that, even if they do acknowledge that it's bullying, they don't see a problem with it/think it should be allowed?

Jeffrey 12 March 21 18:39

Talking of getting beasted anyone got an update on the Slater & Gordon Summer boat party?

Inhouser 12 March 21 18:43

@Fantasist 12 March 21 13:53

You have no idea what on earth you are talking about. I didn’t have to handle this myself, my client did it for me. Needless to say, that associate won’t work on their deals again. 

Anonymous 13 March 21 00:25

Anonymous123 12 March 21 09:46

Having worked there, can confirm it’s a terrible place to work with a seriously toxic work culture. About time someone called them out 

I had a spell there and bad behaviour was not limited to partners.  

Anonymous 13 March 21 09:10

"I believe it's only a matter of time before someone kills themselves", said a source, adding that the firm's "excuse that it's just the way American firms are is total bollocks. This is bullying on another level". 

 

What the ***. Bullied people are paid off, also a great role model for people who make a career in this environment. That's how it works at WFG...

Naive associate? 13 March 21 09:11

Are raised voices and slammed doors normal in City law? Seven years in a US firm (albeit not full NY salary) and I've never heard either. The odd bit of snapishness, but even that is rare. 

If you've been putting up with that, you don't have to. 

Interior design appreciator 13 March 21 16:28

On a positive note, the WFG London office fit-out is second to none. The bullying is obviously regrettable but I think we can all agree that being bullied in a beautiful space is preferable to being bullied somewhere ghastly.

Shaken_Not_Stirred 14 March 21 13:48

I don't quite get the outrage.

 

If a place where you work is not enjoyable and people use hurty words at you, then you either put them straight "This isn't acceptable and if you keep this up I'll do X or Y" or you polish up your CV and leave.

While it may be true that shouting at people isn't particularly enjoyable, the alternative to people that don't perform is performance review, written warnings and termination.

Which is preferable?

anon 14 March 21 16:55

Bullying has been rife in the legal profession for decades. It is taboo to talk about it. Anyone who blows the whistle is a 'troublemaker.'

It is perhaps the greatest injustice in law firms, wrecking lives, careers and mental health. It hinders the D & I agenda.

Yet, year on year, nothing is done. There is a "me too" moment here and it is time to change. The Law Society should take a lead on this.

However I am not optimistic of any change. 

Anon 15 March 21 03:32

[email protected], I fully agree with you. My firm (MC)  did an “internal investigation” into conduct of management in Asia following allegations of serious bullying and other bad behaviour which included allegations of reworking of performance records of partners who had complained. The investigation was a complete sham and fake, involving senior level members of the firm who were mates of the management member involved, as one partner uncovered with a data access request. They paid him off and he signed an NDA.  

Lawmaster 15 March 21 14:05

Bullying and Willkie ... Where are the news? This firm has a history of weak personalities who have had to put up with all their lives and now can unrestrainedly bully others at Willkie they are jealous of..

Anon 16 March 21 17:06

Why do paper shufflers get so excited about things? If anyone even raised their voice at me in a work context, I think I would just laugh at the absurdity of it.

anonymous789 17 March 21 01:40

you should hear the stories about the managing partner of the HK office of a UK/US firm, her behaviour is legendary.

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