brave

"And no cardigaaaaaans!" Vardags takes its stand.


Vardags has taken an ex-employee to court for allegedly leaking the email in which the firm's President and founder, Ayesha Vardag, banned cardigans in the office.

Her husband Stephen Bence, who also works at the firm, announced that, "At some point, one has to take a stand. This is where we take ours". (You read that correctly - Vardags is taking its stand over cardigans.)

Vardags aired its dirty laundry in a colourful statement explaining that it wrote to its former employee "repeatedly without response", and that "sadly", it wasn't until just before the parties were due in court that she "broke her silence" and "finally offered the reassurances which the firm had been seeking for weeks" not to disclose confidential material.

After it cracked her under pressure, Vardags said it compelled her to appear in court, where she "did not deny" disclosing Vardag's all-staff email about its dress code. 

In the email, which was leaked to RollOnFriday*, Vardag told staff, "I am seeing cardigans in the office. Look at the dress code in the handbook. Woollies are verboten. Nothing you could get comfy in by the fire". 

"Look like a pro, not a pretty young thing", she said. "Every day you should look as if you're capable of being President of a significant country."

Evidently unhappy that its leader's edicts had been made public, Vardags secured a court order preventing the former employee from disclosing anything else, and said it reserved the right to pursue her for its costs of £68,000.

Vardags said the woman was sacked for "poor performance" earlier this year and "threatened" to take the firm to the employment tribunal alleging disability discrimination, where she has now issued a "spurious" claim.

After it refused to settle, "she leaked our confidential information to third parties", claimed Vardags, and the firm was targeted as a "cause celebre" by her solicitor's organisation, the United Voices of the World union.

Galloping up and down the ranks of Vardags staff, Bence has delivered a thundering rallying cry:

"Of course, it is open to us to lie down under the pressure, to write a cheque, to roll over. But we will not be at the mercy of spurious and false claims and vindictive breaches of our confidentiality, to pay people off when we know we have done nothing wrong. At some point, one has to take a stand. This is where we take ours".

Chaaaaaarge!

*The leak led to a story revealing that Vardag and Bence were paid handsomely a second time by Vardags as consultants. And why not - the firm is clearly going places, as proven by its website, which currently features a testimonial attributed to Mr Justice Coleridge describing Vardags as "Leading, Magic Circle law firm".


Are you banned from wearing woollies? Or does your Managing Partner wrap you up personally in a cashmere shawl? Is that a good thing? Rate your firm below, in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2021 Survey.

Tags
Survey

Thank you for taking part in RollOnFriday's annual survey measuring satisfaction in private practice. We use it to rank UK firms and write informative stories and reports. It takes mere seconds to complete (though we'd appreciate it if you added comments). 

Your firm
Your role
Your sex
How satisfied are you with your pay?
How satisfied are you with your career development?
How satisfied are you with your work/life balance?
How satisfied are you with your firm's management?
How satisfied are you with your firm's culture?
How satisfied have you been with the firm's response to COVID-19?
Tip Off ROF

Comments

Anonymous 20 November 20 09:53

Just another chippy article from RoF, which is clearly outraged that there is a top City firm with such strong, diverse, female leadership doing so well.

Anonymous 20 November 20 10:19

Anonymous 20 November 20 09:53

Just another chippy article from RoF, which is clearly outraged that there is a top City firm with such strong, diverse, female leadership doing so well.

 

This is irony, surely? Overt aggressive posturing is not a sign of strength, especially when it leads to ridicule and well-deserved oppobrium. As for "diverse leadership" this is laughable. Given that the ownership/leadership can be found making the beast with two backs before decoupling and then deciding which ex-employee to sue, your idea of diversity must be different to mine. 

Bernard George 20 November 20 10:28

Be fair, they are not taking a stand over "cardigans" as you mockingly claim.

They say they are taking a stand against someone who has used a fake employment claim and may continue leaking in order to embarrass and extort. Whether it is truly a fake claim we do not know, but fake claims are not unusual, and they are shameful. So if they are taking a stand against that they should be applauded.

Anon 20 November 20 10:30

I've always liked Vardags.  Indeed when a friend who was divorcing her wealth a-hole of a husband I set up a call with their Manchester office and they were very good.  She went with a medium sized local firm and was completely rinsed.  

That said, the advice to any client when someone has insulted them is to pull up with Wikipedia pages for the Streisand Effect and the McLibel trial and tell them to walk away.

Anonymous 20 November 20 10:35

Anonymous 20 November 20 09:53

Just another chippy article from RoF, which is clearly outraged that there is a top City firm with such strong, diverse, female leadership doing so well.
 

Good to see Vardags senior leadership reads RoF so devoutly. 

Anonymous 20 November 20 10:44

@10:19 How typical that you have tried to devalue female lawyers by crudely reducing them to sex objects. Your crude slurs about sexual activity belong in the 80's.

The 1780's - to be clear.

Also, your idea of diversity clearly is very different to mine. You're probably the kind of person who thinks that recruiting a trainee from Radley is an outreach program.

Anonymous 20 November 20 10:52

 

@10:44 "How typical that you have tried to devalue female lawyers by crudely reducing them to sex objects. Your crude slurs about sexual activity belong in the 80's"

Er, if you are unable to see that the reference was to do with the proximity of the relationship between the owners of the business, your assumption suggests that perhaps it is you that has some very out-dated views about female lawyers? 

Anonymous 20 November 20 11:11

@10:52 Stop playing dumb.

It's a predictable pattern, article about Ayesha Vardag, comments section fetishising her as a sex object. It's like you people can't see her as anything else.

Anonymous 20 November 20 11:59

Serious lack of common sense from Vardags. The damage from Cardigangate is already done - surely better to move on with some semblance of dignity rather than falling arse over tit into an embarrassing and v public legal wrangle. 

Anonymous 20 November 20 12:18

Does anyone know where I can get a decent cardigan? It'll go rather nicely with my pipe and navy shag.

Anonymous 20 November 20 18:09

Could you chaps at the SRA see if there is a tax issue in the offshore consultancy fees charged to the firm? Please do check out this (ahem) "top city firm" and audit them very carefully.

I appreciate it's a change from hounding junior lawyers and people who offend sensitive souls, but do please make sure their tax affairs are ship-shape. I pay a hefty part of my profit share in tax and I would be dismayed to learn my fellow members of the profession were not paying the right amount of tax.

BST2018 20 November 20 18:10

They seem to be a firm who adopt the all publicity is good publicity approach.  I'm really not sure that's right seems to give off a slight air of desperation which a more secure genuine top firm wouldn't display

Anonymous 22 November 20 11:32

>"Nothing you could get comfy in by the fire".

Indubitably she rather wants her staff to get comfy by in the fire.

Anonymous 23 November 20 09:56

"Every day you should look as if you're capable of being President of a significant country." 

 

Cardigonia is a significant country isn't it?

Anonymous 23 November 20 11:26

Not good form to request 'anything by The Cardigans'  then at the firm's Christmas party..?

Related News