How a partnership retirement begins.

A partner at Slaughter and May has left the firm and been reported to the Solicitors Regulation Authority following an internal investigation.

Slaughters declined to say why Oliver Storey departed or why it called the regulator over his conduct. It was equally tight-lipped with staff. In a brief email headed "Retirement", Senior Partner Steve Cooke informed everyone at the Magic Circle firm on Tuesday that Storey had retired "with immediate effect".

Storey joined the firm as a trainee in 2006 and was made up to the partnership in its financing team in 2016. Even just four years on the letterhead means he should have about £4m to fall back on, if he was careful. Which, it seems, he may not have been.

Cooke's email summed up Storey's career at Slaughter and May in one line and was noticeably lacking in warm words. It was "by far the record in terms of shortest retirement email for a partner", observed a Slaughters lawyer. 

The firm said in a statement that it expected "the highest standards of behaviour from all our partners and staff", and that "If these standards are called into question, we will not hesitate to investigate promptly and take whatever action is required”.

Storey did not respond to a request for comment.

Retire - or reward - your firm in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2021 Survey.

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Anon 20 November 20 09:52

This has happened recently in another MC firm too  where more than one partner is leaving following SRA involvement, but management have managed to keep  it very quiet....

Etonian 20 November 20 10:26

To be fair, when you accidentally spill claret in the partners’ luncheon room and then compound the error by letting ash from your cigar fall on the starched table cloth, what else is the firm supposed to do, realistically? 

Anon 20 November 20 10:35

Well he's definitely not getting invited to the Slater & Gordon Xmas Party.  We have higher standards here (ahem, cough).

Sorrydidyousaysomething 20 November 20 11:31

This could be the best thing that ever happens to him.  He could be worth millions under 40 AND not have to be a lawyer any more.

Anonymous 20 November 20 13:45

I suspect that, like Lord Lester before him, he will be cleared of all wrongdoing by the BSB.

CeeCee 21 November 20 10:03

Anon@952, I think you must be referring to my firm. Three partners at management level who were subject of allegations suddenly all leaving the firm. 

Reported to SRA 21 November 20 14:23

The words "behaviour" and report to SRA give it all away.

Sexual harassment or sexual assault is serious misconduct and must be reported to the SRA and investigated.

Those words can encompass all sorts of behaviour, including "attempting to kiss someone when they've given no such indication that it was wanted or welcome", to shagging a junior in your team who then makes a complaint you took advantage of her whilst she was drunk. 

A lot of these stories, even if amounting to "harassment" or "assault" are total non-stories. The kind of behaviour that happens in workplaces up and down the country. Not sure why a law firm would be any different.


Anon 21 November 20 14:54

Anonymous 20 November: Lord Lester was not cleared by the BSB. And this solicitor chap from Slaughters is not regulated by the BSB but by the Bar Council.

Toby Greenlord, Freeman on the Land 21 November 20 20:16

If he posts a copy of Article 61 of The Magna Carter on his cublcle door he can stay as long as he likes.

it's THE LAW.

Amazed that these so-called lawyers don't understand this.

Anonymous 22 November 20 08:38

Anonymous 20 November 13:45: Lord Lester was completely cleared by the BSB. And this solicitor chap from Slaughters is not regulated by the BSB but by the SRA.

anon 22 November 20 08:47

The BSB did not clear Lord Lester QC. They rather found that, despite harassing Ms Sanghera, he should not be sanctioned. The relevant part of the ruling, which is publicly available, is at paragraph 16 and provides: 

“The question which therefore falls to be determined is whether, in light of the findings against Lord Lester, he should be allowed to continue to practise. This has given us very anxious cause for consideration. After all, Lord Lester was found to have harassed Ms Sanghera and abused his position. Those findings stand, notwithstanding Ms Sanghera’s non-participation in the instant proceedings. We have no jurisdiction to revisit those findings or to interfere with them. We are driven to conclude, however, that notwithstanding Lord Lester’s conduct, he should not be subject to sanction. This is because he intends imminently to retire and does not intend to renew his Practising Certificate upon its expiry.”

Anonymous 22 November 20 08:52

@Reported to SRA - 'behaviour' and 'reported to 'SRA' give nothing away, hence the question of what he was accused of.

We shouldn't have sex on the brain when asking this and immediately assume it is sexual in nature (it may be, but equally it may not), but rather should ask what is the accusation, is the accusation true, what evidence supports it, and what is the defence to the accusation. And sexual assault is a matter for the police, not the SRA. And of course consensual sex is not a matter for either. And remember that a complaint of sexual harassment or sexual assault is not the same as sexual harassment or sexual assault.

Accusations, whether true or not, indeed happen up and down the country and are very much news. But in order to fully understand them, we need to understand what the accusations, and any response, actually are.


Real 22 November 20 12:05

A lot of nonsense is spoken about Slaughters as some elite institution, housing great legal minds. It is nothing of the sort. At the end of the day, it is full of people who fill in boilerplate documents for corporate deals or, if they are litigators, delegate the law, strategy and argument to counsel and sit at the back of court, taking notes. Genuinely clever or talented people would never dream of doing such a job. If they had any real skills, they would be at the Bar.

Anon 22 November 20 14:49

Lord Leicester is different from Lord Lester. The former is an Earl from one of England’s oldest aristocratic families, with an illustrious history of service to Crown and country. The latter was a lower middle class life peer who was found to have harassed a woman; offered her a peerage in exchange for sex; voted out of the House of Lords; and not cleared by the BSB, his professional regulator, as the BSB had no jurisdiction to do so, but not sanctioned because he was due to retire from practice.

Toby GreenLord, Freeman on the Land 22 November 20 15:48

@  Real 22 November 20 12:05

Not a Charterhouse man, are you.

It shows.

Anonymous 22 November 20 23:05

Toby - research would show that the Earl of Leicester is not the same as Lord Lester. And that Lord Leicester wasn't found guilty of harassing anybody after a fair investigation, wasn't voted out of the House of Lords, and was completely cleared of all wrongdoing by the BSB.

Toby Greenlord, Freeman on the Land 23 November 20 23:03

I don't think you understand the point.

But thanks for coming.


Don'tBeATeasePlease 24 November 20 09:53

I don't see the point in articles like this when they don't have the juicy details 

Flawyer 24 November 20 10:00

Seeing the comments about drunken shags makes me glad I don’t go to your Christmas parties. You could always try not being sleazes if you don’t want to be reported 

Anonymous 24 November 20 11:45

22nd @ 8.47 - the BSB completely cleared Lord Lester of any wrongdoing and didn't find him to have harassed anybody. There is no publicly available ruling with a paragraph 16 as quoted - it doesn't exist.

Anonymous 24 November 20 14:06

Anonymous 24 November 20 11:45: the decision is publicly available. It is available to any member of the public. I obtained it from the Bar Tribunal and Adjudication Service. Their telephone number is 0203 4327350. They will email the decision to you.

The decision shows that Lord Lester was not cleared by the BSB.

Anon 24 November 20 16:08

Anonymous 24 November 20 11:45: please provide the link to, or relevant excerpts from, the BSB’s decision in which Lord Lester QC was allegedly cleared of the findings of the House of Lords’ Committee.

Anon 25 November 20 10:28

The partner has been thrown under the bus with that damning press release.  Slaughters presumably want to distance themselves at an early stage to limit damage, but I wonder what the SRA will uncover by way of internal failings on the firm’s part when it inevitably investigates and if the matter proceeds to a hearing ...this story is far from over I suspect.  

Anonymous 26 November 20 10:03

I agree Anon, this Lord Lester story seems destined to run and run.

Perhaps one day we can finally have clarity as to whether he was or was not cleared of all wrongdoing by the BSB.


Anon 26 November 20 10:22

Anonymous 26 November 20 10:03: thankfully, we do have clarity. Paragraph 16 of the BSB's decision, quoted by anon 22 November 20 08:47, contains the BSB's ruling that it did not clear Lord Lester.

Anonymous 26 November 20 10:46

To provide some clarity, Lord Lester was completely cleared of any wrongdoing by the BSB. The BSB report isn't publicly available. That is why nobody claiming that there is a 'paragraph 16' in the report criticising Lord Lester has been able to provide the report - because they don't have it.

Anon 26 November 20 16:28

@Toby Greenlord, Freeman on the Land 21 November 20 20:16

Article 61 applied to 25 specific Barons but was subsequently removed from later revisions of the Magna Carta and thus never made it into English law.  How do I know this?  Because like all good lawyers I googled it and that was the first answer.

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