The head of Shoosmiths’ private equity practice has been fined and banned for driving for 18 months after being convicted of drink driving.
Sean Wright is "considered to be the best corporate lawyer on the South coast" according to his profile on Shoosmiths’ website. But the Solent-based partner found himself on the wrong side of the law in September last year, when he was up before the court on a drink driving charge. He pleaded guilty to "driving while under the influence of excess alcohol" and was fined £1,500 by the court and slapped with a temporary ban.
The partner promptly reported the matter to the SRA, and the regulator has also fined Wright for his "reckless" behaviour with a "disregard of risk of harm".
The regulator's decision, made this month, was to slap the partner with a £750 fine on the basis that "the impact of the misconduct was low because there was no actual harm to others or damage to property".
The partner admitted that he had "failed to behave in a way which maintains the trust the public places in him". But the SRA noted, in mitigation, that Wright co-operated with the investigation, had shown remorse and expressed regret. So he seems to have accepted his wrongdoing, unlike this lawyer with a driving indiscretion.
"Sean admitted the charges, notified the SRA at the earliest opportunity and co-operated throughout," said a Shoosmiths spokesman. "We respect the decision of the SRA given the nature of he offence. At the same time, we have also held our own internal inquiry and the matter has been resolved."
"Honestly officer, I've only had a few ales".
As firms continue to deal with the impact of Covid-19, Shoosmiths has also had to make pay cuts. But the firm seems to have taken a fair approach in offering a commensurate drop in working hours, as adopted by other firms.
"We asked staff across the firm to consider voluntary furlough leave where it may be appropriate," said a Shoosmiths spokesman. "Staff earning more than £25,000 have been asked to consider moving to 90% working entailing 90% pay and benefits, while staff earning more than £30,000 have been asked to consider moving to 80% working, entailing 80% pay and benefits."
Those at the top of the Milton Keynes headquartered-firm are taking a hit as equity partners have not been drawing their usual dividend payments. "Further dividend payments are under review, along with drawing reductions," confirmed the spokesman, adding that "all partners and directors will take a 20% reduction in pay."
A source at Shoosmiths told RollOnFriday that a high proportion of staff at the firm have also been furloughed, but the firm refused to confirm details of the percentage of staff affected.