womble sue government

Womble Bond Dickinson has decided not to sue the UK government after all.

The firm hit upon the galaxy-brained idea of taking the government to court after it was dropped from the prestigious public sector legal panel.

Law firms tend to avoid suing clients for not instructing him, because it's a terrible idea, and after a period of contemplation Wombles appears to have decided it can cope with Wombling free after all.

A WBD spokesperson said the firm "requested additional information from the Crown Commercial Service", and that after reviewing it with the Government Legal Department "we have withdrawn our challenge and wish CCS, GLD and the Buying Departments well with the new panel arrangements".

Characterising the launch of a court case as a request for feedback from a public body following a procurement process is certainly an angle, although the number of lawyers describing WBD to RollOnFriday as "a clownshow" went up, not down, after the latest twist. 

The mandarins in charge of picking the GLD’s external advisors may have factored in Wombles’ use of the furlough scheme, which, despite being intended as a bulwark against job losses, did not stave off redundancies at the firm, according to sources.

However, Wombles' abortive attempt to sue will definitely have put paid to that bad impression, and it surely won't be long before the firm is called in from the cold. Or else. 

Tip Off ROF


🤡 10 December 21 09:26

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch spent his life finding new and wonderful ways to humiliate himself, but was never in the same league as Womble Bond Dickinson! 

anonymous 10 December 21 09:54

I don't think it was the Furlough what did it. WBD have confirmed to ROF they repaid all the monies. More likely the impending Government inquiry into the Post Office Horizon scandal into sub postmasters being wrongly issued  writs . Or just maybe WBD were not very good? Whatever the reason often firms continue to be  instructed off panel but would any manager risk instructing WBD off panel now? Asking for a friend.

Chimp Brain 10 December 21 09:57

This wasn’t just a simple miscalculation, the decision to sue would have been made by all their senior public sector lawyers. 

So it becomes a question of judgement, which is all the more damning when that’s what you’re selling to clients. 


Anonymous 10 December 21 10:18

As someone who works at WBD I am embarrassed by this whole saga. It was an incredibly misjudged move by a select few who felt slighted by not being re appointed. A view shared by the vast majority of my colleagues (and every partner I have spoken to).

Anonymous 10 December 21 10:51

1018am this is such a huge judgement call that it must have been signed off at the very top?  And isn’t the head of litigation the managing partner designate ? so it is inconceivable this was not signed off. This is just good old Dickinson we know best mentality.

Anonymous 10 December 21 11:12

The ‘Dickie Dees’ brand was tarnished by very similar behaviour.  Maybe they’ll have to rebrand again? 


Anonymous 10 December 21 12:26

They have a “it’s who you know, not what you know” reputation. 

The “chumocracy” approach probably works with some public bodies, but fortunately for us taxpayers, not the Crown Commercial Service. 

anonymous 10 December 21 13:05

arrogance mixed with ability can be attractive and alluring but arrogance mixed with inability is very unattractive and dangerous. Some big judgement calls gone very badly wrong at WBD recently. Silly Dickies.

YearofthePig 10 December 21 13:41

Corporates are not shy in taking governments to court over failed procurement tenders.  Why is it unreasonable for law firms to do the same?

💩 🤓 10 December 21 18:26

Decent outside bet for the Golden Turd award?

After all, Wombles will have been furious they were only the second worst firm in 2020 and dreaming of their glory days a decade ago. 


Wobbly Wombles 11 December 21 12:52

From the Wombles website:

our disputes advice adds real, practical value.

Long-term client relationships are important to us…Experts that recognise when cases should be fought and when swift, confidential resolution is the best course of action.

With one of the best litigation teams in the UK… Our approach is commercially focussed at every step…Resolving potential disputes before they arise is always our aim but, if that can’t be achieved, we move swiftly and robustly towards pursuing or defending litigation or arbitration.”

Hmmmm how does that reconcile with going to Court to challenge a decision and then dropping the case?

Anonymous 13 December 21 14:42

How does this feed into WBD’s long running power struggle between the Bristol and Newcastle offices?

Is Bristol now firmly in charge?  

Related News