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Some law firm names are easier to remember than others

A law firm receptionist who was dismissed for being unable to say the firm's name when answering the phone, has failed in an employment claim against the firm. 

The receptionist, referred to as Miss J Earle in the tribunal judgment, worked at Wykeham-Hurford Sheppard & Son's Chislehurst office. The firm terminated her temporary contract after just eight days, in June 2022.

The firm said that Earle could not perform the role to the required standard. One of the receptionist's main tasks was to answer and direct phone calls. However, she "repeatedly put calls or attempted to put calls" through to the firm's director, Sally Reeve, or other lawyers directly, despite being instructed to transfer calls to other supporting staff instead, the tribunal panel noted.

The tribunal heard that one of the performance issues raised by the firm, was Earle's "inability to say the firm’s name when answering the phone to clients." The receptionist had told the firm's director, Reeve, that the firm's name was difficult to repeat over the phone. The tribunal commented that while the name Wykeham-Hurford Sheppard & Son "is certainly something of a mouthful", it should not have been a difficult or unreasonable task for a receptionist to perform. 

"A new member of staff could have overcome the problem by practice or having the name to hand, in writing, when answering the phone, but for whatever reason Miss Earle was unable answer the phone to the respondent’s satisfaction," said the panel. "It was the manner in which Miss Earle refused to accept her own obvious shortcomings which further undermined her credibility."

Earle, who represented herself at the tribunal hearing, argued that her contract was terminated because of her disability comprising of back, shoulder and neck pain. She brought claims alleging disability discrimination, failure by the respondent to make reasonable adjustments and claims of harassment related to disability.

However, all of the receptionist's claims failed. The employment tribunal found that her claims did not meet the statutory definition of disability, and the firm did not discriminate against her, or subject her to harassment.

Presumably Earle will not be seeking a job as a receptionist at the long-winded US firm Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca, Fischer, Gilbert-Lurie, Stiffelman, Cook, Johnson, Lande & Wolf.

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Tip Off ROF


Great employee 31 May 24 09:17

Anyone who can wind up the top bosses is a yes for me.  Sign here love, welcome to the firm.

Anonymous 31 May 24 10:35

The real issue seems to be she wasn't a gatekeeper. Should have hired a GP's receptionist.

Office Drone 31 May 24 11:05

Dewey, Cheatem & Howe LLP - how can I connect you?

Mike Hunt Attorneys - I'll put you through right away.

Ben, Dover and Squeal - we'll sort you out.

Shyster & Shyster - the name's so nice, you say it twice!

Ditcher & Hyde Family Lawyers - we are so sorry to hear about your divorce.


Any other good ones? :-)


anonymous 31 May 24 11:24

there used to be a firm called Nash, Howett, Cocks and Clapp.

For some reason they shortened the name to Nash Howett.



Time-to-call 31 May 24 11:35

Not quite at the level of the Branca firm's latest iteration but also a Hollywood media firm, I recently dealt with 

Myman Greenspan Fox Rosenberg Mobasser Younger & Light 

Anonymous too 31 May 24 13:14

Apparently, there’s a firm called “Womble Bond Dickinson”. You couldn’t make it up …

Managing Partner 31 May 24 15:32

@11.05 - Maclay Murray & Spens were affectionately referred to as Delay, Worry & Expense back in the day. 

Sir Woke XR Remainer FBPE MBE 01 June 24 08:39

I imagine that as a hard working individual who depends on a job for her livelihood and has been treated unsympathetically by her employers, she is indeed a Labour voter.

Secret Squirrel 04 June 24 14:26

My other half and I are both solicitors. My name is Smith and hers is O’Donnell.  I’ve always dreamt of setting up SOD’s law.

The lady in this article can have a job if we do. 

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