POV you've been voted out the partnership.

A senior partner at Womble Bond Dickinson has been expelled from the firm following allegations of sexual misconduct.

The partner, ‘Mr Y’, was accused by trainees and junior solicitors of overstepping the mark at a firm party.

Sources said his offences ranged from being “handsy” and giving unwanted hugs, to putting his hand up one alleged victim’s skirt. He also used inappropriate phrases which made female staff at the event feel uncomfortable, it was alleged.

Three of the female junior lawyers lodged complaints, all of which were upheld by the independent KC which the firm instructed to investigate, ROF understands.

When presented with the KC’s report the partnership voted to expel Mr Y earlier this year, and the firm also reported the matter to the SRA.

Mr Y told ROF, “Clearly the matters you raise are extremely serious”.

Sufficiently serious that he followed up with a letter from Carter Ruck, the press-threatening firm which is being reported to the SRA for its aggressive litigation practices.

Carter Ruck told ROF that Mr Y was engaged in an ongoing “legal complaint” with WBD in relation to his expulsion and “emphatically denies any misconduct of any kind”.

The Solicitors’ Regulation Authority declined to comment, however ROF understands from Carter Ruck that the SRA's investigation into the lawyer was dropped. 

Other sources said the investigation had to be canned because complainants were unwilling to testify.

A spokesperson for WBD said, “All allegations or complaints brought to the Firm’s attention are thoroughly, and promptly, investigated, including by third parties where appropriate. The Firm reports matters to the necessary bodies, our policies and procedures are robust, and we take the welfare of all our people extremely seriously”.

Note: This story was amended on 22/12/23 to remove a passage summarising Mr Y's defence and a passage characterising the partnership vote. To be continued...


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Anon 15 December 23 08:41

....reminds me of the good old days in the 00s when i reported a partner for an attempted rape and I was given training about how to handle him better

MC Question Man 15 December 23 09:07

Christmas time, mistletoe and wine,
You've got questions, I've got mine,
What are the allegations, who is this "KC"?
Are we sure there has been any iniquity?

Other partners back him, so does the SRA,
How can we believe a word women say?
The regulator, says no evidence to see,
Shouldn't we take Carter Ruck very seriously?!

Question time! (Silence complaints!)
Mistletoe and wine! (both obligatory!)
You've got questions! I've got mine!
Let's put out the fires, see the wood not the tree,
and pour doubt on the results of an enquiry.

Question time! (Question time!)
Repeat to fade...

Anon 15 December 23 09:09

@anon at 08.41

I empathise. Late 00s I made a complaint about sexual harassment when I was working in admin for a firm. I was told to stop wearing short skirts to the office.

He did it again a couple years later to the daughter of someone senior on work experience. Then they took it more seriously, obviously.

sinkingship 15 December 23 09:16

BDB culture Horizon culture now this. Why would anyone work at this immoral firm or want to join or instruct them ?

Johnny 15 December 23 09:18

This man sounds like an ideal candidate for the Slater & Gordon Summer Boat Party, Sign Here Sir.

Anonymous 15 December 23 09:20

I worked in the Newcastle office about eight years ago and one partner had 29 secretaries in three years. They kept quitting if they had to work with him.

Yet that wasn’t sufficient for the management to spot something was wrong.

Womble Achievements 15 December 23 09:22

🥇 led on worst miscarriage of justice in UK history
🥈 partner who 💩 himself on night out
🥉 touchy feely partner allowed to get away with it for years

Can we have a special category for Wombles in this year’s awards?

Buster Gonad 15 December 23 09:26

Partners like Mr Y have an overinflated sense of worth, hence they think behaviour like the stuff reported is fine. They don't like it when they get caught out. Bye bye, don't slam the door on your way out.

Anonymous 15 December 23 09:29

I hear 3 senior female partners have quit on the past month. Wonder what is making them leave?

CityBond 15 December 23 09:32

I know for a fact that, separately to Mr Y, another partner “voluntarily left” Wombles having sexually assaulted a junior. That particular partner IS currently under investigation by the SRA.

Anonymous 15 December 23 09:34

Keep us updated on this one - interesting the SRA refused to investigate. Would be interesting to know the truth.

Womble Cult 15 December 23 09:41

I bet some Wombles lawyers still won’t speak up about the problems within the firm. They act like a cult, unwilling to acknowledge the very obvious problems.

Anonymous 15 December 23 09:41

Bad stuff but it seems that the Firm took the allegations seriously and acted decisively.

Anonymous 15 December 23 09:46

@8.41 - it is always advisable to report matters such as attempted rape to the police and not the firm.

Womblingfree 15 December 23 09:47

I used to work in the Newcastle office and the gossip there was that this incident is by no means the worst. Think Weinstein and a mass cover up with payouts all round. Ssshhhhh….

Anonymous 15 December 23 09:54

Presumably the SRA will not investigate as it's a partner. If it was a non-partner, they'd be all over it.

The Goldilocks Zone 15 December 23 09:56

So it’s so serious that he’s been ejected from the partnership, but not so serious the Head of Legal and Enforcement at the Solicitors Regulation Authority thinks he should investigate?

Postmanpat 15 December 23 09:59

Did the SRA refuse to investigate (unlikely) or is it that the victims couldn’t face another investigation (probably because they work in a toxic man culture and have no support).

Anonymous 15 December 23 10:08

Interesting take on the story. What ROF hasn't detailed is how Mr Y was [ROF: various colourful allegations]

Anonymous 15 December 23 10:10

@10.01 - can we be sure that there has ever been a true allegation?

Like, in history and stuff?

Colin 15 December 23 10:14

Anonymous 15 December 23 10:01

@Scep Tick - that all depends on whether or not the allegations are true.

That ship has sailed; no such thing as false allegations anymore.

No Answer Woman 15 December 23 10:16

@9.07 - indeed, there is some doubt about the allegations, enough to get you singing. What are the questions you should be asking?

Anonymous 15 December 23 10:19

Calling women raising serious allegations “hysterical” - we’re not in the 1800s and don’t need to be treated as such. You wouldn’t put your career on the line and raise such allegations if there wasn’t truth to it.

HR shame 15 December 23 10:30

HR been turning a blind eye to all sorts of inappropriate behaviour not just sexual at Wombles. HR just do what partners tell them even if wrong.

Anon 15 December 23 10:32

Not being funny - but either a) the allegations are true and you're well shot of this guy, or b) the allegations are false but at least 3 people found this person sufficiently repugnant that they hatched a plan for get rid of him (and presumably there was a degree of corroborating witness evidence). I suspect if the person is THAT unpopular that there could be a massive conspiracy where a meaningful number of people in the firm have aligned to get rid of him, you're probably also well shot of him.

no morals 15 December 23 10:33

Although very serious and should not happen these things do and no excuse. That in itself is troubling but as troubling is the reaction of the Wombles board and partners who tried to keep this guy. Reason? Turkeys Christmas.

Anonymous 15 December 23 10:35

@9.09 - what was the 'sexual harassment' you complained of? You could always raise the complaint (and alleged response) with the firm now.

anonymous 15 December 23 10:35

Have not the Wombles done enough this year to bring disgrace to the legal profession?

Shaw GE 15 December 23 10:55

The lesson from this is don't attend Christmas parties at your firm or any other, unless you are a teetotaller.

anon 15 December 23 10:56

Your Womble image depicts female Wombles in the Boardroom. We don't have any females left in the Boardroom after the appalling way this was handled....

Anonymous 15 December 23 10:57

@Johnny - what happened at the Slater and Gordon summer boat party and what does it have to do with the allegations here?

Legal Eagle 15 December 23 10:57

The firm did the right thing removing him - shocked that the SRA haven't investigated him. Partner Y in desperation clearly provided a statement because the article smacks that he's tried to rubbish the investigation and discredit those involved - shame on him. Hope his name comes out in the wash soon.

Bush Tucker Man 15 December 23 11:05

The fellas name is being banded about in the local market. Trial by other partners. If he had any sense he would push back on what they’re saying about him.

Jonny Walker 15 December 23 11:29

@11.05 "Three of the female junior lawyers lodged complaints, all of which were upheld by the independent KC"

Why on earth would you care so much about his name and reputation?

Anonymous 15 December 23 11:32

@Womble Achievements - what partner on a night out, and why do you think its a source of shame? What touchy feely partner? Were they male or female?

Womble Achievements 15 December 23 12:01

@11.32, are you really arguing that someone getting so drunk they 💩 themselves shouldn’t be seen as a source of shame?

At Wombles shame is a nuanced concept, but I had thought we at least agreed on this issue.

Anonymous 15 December 23 12:18

@09.29 - what evidence do you have that 3 senior partners have left in the past month? How man male partners left in the last month? Why did the female partners leave? Why did the male partners leave?

Anon 15 December 23 12:24

@Colin 15 December 23 10:14 - exactly: as a matter of law, the findings of fact by the KC that Mr Y sexually harassed the victims are now objective truths.

Anonymous 15 December 23 12:32

@CityBond - where can we see evidence of a criminal conviction for this sexual assault?

Anonymous 15 December 23 12:51

@Womblingfree - what was the worst? What evidence is there of payments and cover-ups all round, or is it indeed just unfounded rumour?

Ban the Wombles 15 December 23 13:04

Womble HR working overtime on the comments/likes again. Maybe consider why you keep ending up in this position

CityBond 15 December 23 13:07

Anonymous @ 12:32 - given it takes something like 4 years from report to conviction I expect it’s coming in a few years… the findings of the indie KC investigation however are findings of fact as others have pointed out

Anonymous 15 December 23 13:14

@12.01 - what position are you in to judge them until you have walked a mile in their thoroughly soiled, dung crusted shoes?

Anonymous 15 December 23 13:15

@9.54 - actually the evidence shows that the SRA investigates and names male partners very frequently, while not naming their accusers, making their processes automatically unfair.

Joey Barton 15 December 23 13:41

@CityBond, suggest you take the blinkers off. Accusing someone of something doesn’t automatically make it true. Or perhaps you work on the Post Office matter and forgot that part.

Anon 15 December 23 13:44

A senior partner went completely off the radar a few months back - to the point we couldn't even say his name no more - this makes complete sense now!!

CityBond 15 December 23 14:12

@JoeyBarton - if a KC during an investigation finds that you did something wrong, then no amount of emphatic denial is going to save your greasy bacon.

Anonymous 15 December 23 14:30

@The Goldilocks Zone - or to put it another way its not serious enough for the SRA to investigate but the partners think they need to vote him out.

Bad Wombles 15 December 23 14:46

Wombles need to look in the mirror and clean up their act. No wonder the women won’t work there. Some class acts have left recently that’s a fact.

Anonymous 15 December 23 14:49

His defence - ‘they’re hysterical women m’lud’ sounds like a classic of the genre

Anonymous 15 December 23 15:37

@Postmanpat - the SRA didn't see fit to investigate. The fact that the firm brought in a KC and voted out the accused partner somewhat blows a hole in your theory that the complainants lacked support.

Anonymous 15 December 23 15:54

What were the 'inappropriate phrases'? How were the women 'uncomfortable', what does that mean? 'Uncomfortable' is a pejorative buzzword which is often thrown in to this type of allegation.

Wimbles 15 December 23 16:21

HR and PR Wombles rather than spending your time in here why don't you work out what is going wrong and try help fix it rather than defend the indefensible.

Twisted ankle 15 December 23 16:29

City Bond - no offence, but you have no idea what you’re talking about. If, for example, said KC was negligent, exceeded their remit and was the subject of a BSB investigation, I’m not so sure your theory, and indeed your muck-spreading, would stand up to a whole lot of scrutiny.

@anonymous 15:37 15 December 23 16:39

Dear Wombles HR team

Investigating an allegation is your duty. This doesn’t amount to supporting the victims and ‘job done’. Jeeez

Anonymous 15 December 23 17:06

@Colin - that is a false allegation. Unfortunately, false allegations are very uncommon when it comes to sexual misconduct.

Anonymous 15 December 23 17:12

@10.19 - although of course there is no evidence that anyone was called 'hysterical'. And nobody puts their career on the line by making allegations these days - we're not in the 1800s. People make untrue allegations all the time. We simply don't know whether these allegations were true or not.

Anon 15 December 23 17:29

We know the allegations are true because the KC found them as a fact to be true. As a matter of law, it is now an objective truth that Mr Y committed sexual harassment.

42 Practising Certificates 15 December 23 17:33

I'd hazard a guess that if this firm still exists in its present form a year from now, it will be known by an entirely different name, in the UK anyway. I can't imagine that their American cousins are in the least impressed.

WBD Payroll 15 December 23 17:50

Anyone know if WBD HR are being paid overtime for these comments? Cheeky Christmas bonus maybe?

bomble wond 15 December 23 17:55

Board reshuffle makes sense now. Get your token women in to try and sanitise the image.

Anonymous 15 December 23 18:01

@10.33 - or maybe the reason was a lack of evidence. What's it got to do with turkeys and Christmas?

whocares 15 December 23 18:21

not sure Wombles will care. Given their approach to Horizon if their bottom line is untouched they can handle a few cock ups 

A rainy night in soho 15 December 23 18:32

@17.06 - I can confirm from unfortunate, horrific, first hand experience that you are talking utter bollocks. These psychos do exist.

Anon 15 December 23 19:31

Anonymous 15 December 23 10:19 - yes, the evidence is clear that part of Mr Y’s defence was that the women were hysterical. As you say, the victims would not have put their careers on the line unless the allegations were true - as indeed they were found to be by the KC.

Dubious 1 15 December 23 19:41

It used to be part of the job description at blm..and not just once a year at xmas.

Anonymous 15 December 23 20:48

@10.56 - appalling way it was handled? So you're saying he shouldn't have been voted out?

Anonymous 15 December 23 20:53

@Jonny Walker - "lots of partners felt very strongly that there wasn't enough evidence". Why do you care so much about damaging his name and reputation?

Anonymous 16 December 23 05:15

The total fee paid to WBD between the financial years 2013–14 to 2022–23, was £37,498,000 according to a Post Office FOI. Good money, well spent I’m sure you’ll agree.

Anon 16 December 23 09:19

It happened at my firm a few years ago. He was suspended for 3 months. Then promoted this year. You can’t make this up.

Anonymous 16 December 23 10:26

@Wombles PR/Ban the Wombles - what comments are 'Wombles PR' or 'Wombles HR'?

Given that the partner was voted out.

Sounds like you believe he was innocent.

Bar 16 December 23 11:20

The title of the article is wrong. The partner was expelled for sexually harassing junior lawyers - not allegedly. The findings of the KC are findings of fact, that Mr Y sexually harassed the junior lawyers concerned. A finding of fact is treated in law as an objective truth until such time as it is set aside.

Anonymous 16 December 23 11:45

@Anonymous 15 December 23 10:19
Even worse that the word ‘hysterical’ used by a source was a woman.

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