parsonbeez

As is traditional, the lawyers appearing before the Inquiry looked drained of blood.


Two Womble Bond Dickinson partners have defended their roles in the wrongful prosecution of sub-postmasters at the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry, although the view of a WBD associate watching proceedings was that his boss was "torn apart". 

Innocent postmasters had their lives destroyed when the Post Office blamed them for accounting discrepancies that were caused by its faulty Horizon IT system, while Wombles raked in enormous fees.

Tom Beezer kicked off his appearance with an apology to “each and every subpostmaster and mistress”, and also said sorry to Lee Castleton, a former subpostmaster who was bankrupted by his wrongful conviction.

Beezer assured the inquiry that he had been “confident in the assertions made to me by POL [the Post Office] about the robustness of the Horizon system”, but since then, “my confidence in such assertions has been eroded”. Not 'alf!

He should have had a word with his colleague Andrew Parsons, who was hammered by Inquiry counsel Julian Blake with example after example of advice he gave to the Post Office not to disclose Horizon's errors.

That included walking Parsons into a bear trap by asking him if he had ever advised the Post Office not to write things down because then they would be disclosable. 

"No", the Womble replied confidently, at which Blake whisked him to a note he wrote in 2013 telling the Post Office that informing its insurer about Horizon errors "would look bad for POL if it ever became public knowledge", and that “to reduce the risk” it would be better if, “rather than sending a formal written notification”, the Post Office “verbally notifies them so as not to leave a paper trail”. 

Challenged on the apparent contradiction, a rattled Parsons responded, “I apologise, I misunderstood your question”.


insure

It also emerged that Parsons inserted the bombshell paragraph into associate Amy Prime's letter to the Post Office which stated that, “we'll do what we can to avoid disclosure” and “try to do so in a way that looks legitimate”.


avoid

Parsons explained to Blake that although his wording was "ill-expressed", it "does not reflect the true position as there were substantive and legitimate reasons to resist disclosure".

"That's not just a poor choice of words", challenged Blake.

Faced with minutes of a meeting about Horizon issues which recorded him stating that, erm, minutes of meetings about Horizon issues should not be recorded (“if it’s produced, it’s then available for disclosure, if it’s not then technically it isn’t”), Parsons told the inquiry firmly, “I did not advise Post Office against minuting those meetings”.

In a stunning email he sent following a damaging Panorama episode about the scandal, he suggested that the Post Office "could however start attacking the postmasters credibility by calling out [wrongly convicted subpostmasters] Thomas, Misra and Hamilton as the liars and criminals that they are".


pan

"On reflection that language is too strong", accepted Parsons after Blake asked him how he could say such a thing given what he knew by then about the shot credibility of IT expert Gareth Jenkins.

WBD has limited its public statements to a boiler plate expression of sympathy*, but one Womble has spoken up.

Responding to a ROF commenter who said that “Everything you touch in the office is tainted by the suffering of the postmasters”, WBD Senior Counsel Adam Taylor-Smith responded that “the people I deal with on regular basis at the firm are thoughtful and high on integrity and frankly very decent people. I think it is pretty odd and juvenile to vilify an entire organisation based on the alleged actions of a handful of people years ago".

Word reaches ROF that some WBD lawyers are not overly impressed with their partners' performance at the Inquiry. 

One “massively embarrassed senior lawyer” told ROF that Parsons was "torn apart" by Blake, and that they were “very surprised” at the impression Parsons gave that current WBD Chair Simon Richardson "took such a light touch to the most brand-damaging litigation the PO and WBD will ever be involved in".

Another appalled insider claimed that partners "are now not happy" with certain management figures whose "days are numbered".

Damage inflicted by the Inquiry on WBD's reputation is ongoing, and now encompasses a prospective joiner contacting RollOnFriday to ask whether they should accept an offer from the firm. 

*"The firm has great sympathy for all those affected by the issues being investigated by the Horizon Public Inquiry and recognises the very real personal impact these have had on sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses. Under the terms of the Inquiry, we are unable to comment further but continue to engage fully in that process."
 


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Comments

Anonymous 14 June 24 08:15

With respect to the act of appearing in person and giving evidence, I thought they both did a decent job. Beezer came across well (although his evidence and role is much more limited). Parsons obviously had a tough time and there was some inevitable squirming given the written evidence presented to him, but his demeanour remained calm and composed. Compare, for example, with the in-house lawyer Singh, who claimed in his personal evidence that he didn't know how to save a document throughout his time at POL. 

You didn't refer to the "produce" exchange with Parsons, which was a very interesting section.

disgusted Womble 14 June 24 08:29

Watching Andy 's ( now called Prince Andy after the disastrous Newsnight interview of Royal namesake) appalling performance made me think to myself, colleagues , joiners and clients. Why would we work here , join here or give us any work? Taxi ? Make it a big one . 

simple simon 14 June 24 08:31

why is Simon Richardson the PO client partner past Womble chair not giving evidence ? As Parsons and Beezer both tried to deflect it all to him 

criminal 14 June 24 08:35

Blake made Parsons look incompetent when Parsons kept saying he was not a criminal lawyer and yet was taken to many emails where he was clearly giving advice on criminal proceedings disclosure. If you were not Mr Parsons what were Wombles paid the £38 million for? Being a post box as you claim? Really?!

Anonymous 14 June 24 08:54

It is very surprising that the Law Society has failed, in any way, to criticise the actions of Womble Bond Dickinson in the Post Office Scandal, even after the revelations about disclosure. 

Could it be because the President of the Law Society is the brother of one of the senior management of Womble Bond Dickinson? 

 

Anonymous 14 June 24 08:56

My disdain and disgust for WBD was greatly enhanced by the performance of Parsons.  Whilst I have no confidence whatsoever in the SRA, surely even they can’t mess this one up.  

Anonymous 14 June 24 08:58

The SRA should be scrapped after this. 

Amy Prime should have had action taken against her the moment that email emerged. It is a scandal on top of a miscarriage of justice. 

draw dropping 14 June 24 09:01

I thought Wombles would come out of this bad but no idea it was this bad , there were jaw dropping moments in all this . Andy was way out of his depth. And what was Simon Richardson doing?! If i was a Womble client I would be very worried . 

Anonymous 14 June 24 09:08

I hope that Wombles staff take 2 minutes today to look around their office to look at the luxuries that were in part funded through the Post Office litigation.  

Then, when they get home they watch Mr Bates vs The Post Office to see the misery that the firm they choose to work for inflicted on so many people, over so many years. 

I know they won’t though. Far easier just to pretend that what they do is separate. 

Tyler Durden 14 June 24 09:18

The first rule of Womble Bond Dickinson is you don't talk about Post Office Horizon.

The second rule of Womble Bond Dickinson is you don't talk about Post Office Horizon.

Can only imagine the back-slapping and internal memos and intranet announcements on this from 10-15 years ago.  Those will not have aged well.

Wombles are done 14 June 24 09:18

@Anon 8.58

This would be the email where the problematic paragraph is now revealed to have been inserted by Parsons?

I’m reflecting on the type of organisation that allows a then trainee to be vilified for two months over wording in an email that she did not write and was inserted by her supervising partner.  

And somehow Wombles is a signatory of the Mindful Charter - what a joke

VeganAddleshawsPartner 14 June 24 09:23

At Addleshaws, our partners are paragons of integrity and accountability, ensuring we avoid the pitfalls that have ensnared others. 

Unlike some firms, whose partners get "torn apart" at inquiries or embroiled in scandalous prosecutions, we pride ourselves on rigorous oversight and ethical practice. It's clear that not all firms can claim such high standards—perhaps they should take notes.

Anonymous 14 June 24 09:24

Its a shame the reputations of those at WBD who are good at their job are now tarnished by the actions of a few.  One assumes their billing statistics will go down due to mass CV updating, recruiter meetings and time off for external interviews currently taking place across the business.

An Offshore Type 14 June 24 09:25

Even I, an individual whose entire career is to function as a postbox and servant to better more successful lawyers, look down upon the wretched souls who work at WBD. All who toil there are forever damned to wander the dark places of the earth, hiding from God's sight, forever tarnished by their sins. Too debased even for our pity.

 

Anyway, that's home time for me. Off to scrub off my feelings of inadequacy over a few cocktails in the hot-tub with my neighbour's wife.

anon 14 June 24 09:31

"...and now encompasses a prospective joiner contacting RollOnFriday to ask whether they should accept an offer from the firm." 

NO DO NOT DO IT!

Womble NQ 14 June 24 09:34

WBD's GC can dress it up as however he likes. Parsons/WBD gave positive advice to the Post Office to speak to its insurers verbally "so as to not leave a paper trail". The illegality of that advice is frankly shocking. There are many good people who work at WBD (1500+ employees - of course there are) but the firm's reputational damage is now beyond reparable. Parsons should be struck off and the firm should make good its wrongdoing by making a generous contribution to the sub post master compensation scheme - it took £60 million of tax payers money defending the group litigation FGS. Tbh I'm embarrassed to work here now. Paul Stewart - people at this firm are looking at you to take action and do the right thing. Have some back bone and sort this out before our clients leave in droves. 

Happyhacks. 14 June 24 09:35

How much mileage in a defamation case against Wombles and Andrew Parsons for their description of 3 innocent SPMs as   "Criminals and Liars"?  Crowdfunding being discussed on X this morning.  

Anonymous 14 June 24 09:53

Loving "Senior" Counsel Adam Taylor-Smith view that  “it is pretty odd and juvenile to vilify an entire organisation based on the alleged actions of a handful of people years ago".

To be clear you are being vilified for the "actual" actions as identified in the inquiry (not the "alleged" actions).  

And it still sounds like WDB just doesn't get it. Sure we all fight hard for our clients but there are lines you don't cross and your team went way, way over that line.

 

Barnsbury 14 June 24 09:54

Is it in fact illegal to advise a client to make a disclosure verbally and not in writing? It is a statement of the obvious that if there is no document then there is nothing to disclose. If the lawyer were to advise the client to adopt a policy of not documenting anything to ensure no disclosure then that would surely lead to the almost irrefutable inference that the policy had been adopted in order to cover up some sort of wrongdoing. That might well have professional implications, but is it illegal? That is a genuine question, I'm not trying to be narky.

 

Far more problematic it seems to me was the advice not to disclose "the guidelines". The advice seems to have been that this was a disclosable document, but the client should not disclose it and basically see how long they could get away with it. 

AshamedWomble 14 June 24 09:55

I am ashamed to work at Wombles. The firm is at a crossroads. It needs to sack the entire board and get rid of the cronies and the back slappers who have lined their pockets.

If it doesn’t, then WBD won’t have and staff left. 

Coffee Monster 14 June 24 09:56

Parsons and Prime should surely be suspended if they have not already, notwithstanding the lackadaisical response from Paul Stewart  and the SRA. Wonder why Stewart has been so slow off the mark - oh yes he ran the litigation and disputes team with Beezer, Paraons and Prime all part of it…no conflict there ! 

WBD shame 14 June 24 09:57

Many friends at Wombles who are in the market . Apparently the board are pleased with how the Inquiry is going. Very pleased to still be being paid millions a year by PO !!!! That is the taxpayer?

The Horse 14 June 24 10:07

The mainstream media haven’t run headlines about Womble Bond Dickinson’s role in this miscarriage of justice. 

Credit to the PR team involved. However, eventually people will wonder how WBD get to keep their £37m+ when the taxpayer has to compensate the Post Office victims. 

 

City 14 June 24 10:16

Beezer and Parsons come across as spivs and chancers, who were seriously out of their depth in complex, important litigation of this sort. None of this should come as a surprise: for the PO to instruct Southampton lawyers to run such a case was madness, and it was little wonder that the wheels came off.

amyunderthebus 14 June 24 10:18

shocking that as her supervising partner Andy Parsons is prepared to shove Amy a trainee then NQ under the bus!!!

Anonymous 14 June 24 10:18

I don't understand what the SRA are doing? This is the worst event that has happened to the profession. 

Why are these lawyers still allowed to practice? They should be suspended, as a minimum, pending SRA investigation and tribunal,  as soon as this story broke.

I was a second career lawyer who worked in-house and for a firm. I always spoke up when I saw sales practices that risked misrep claims, for example. I got abuse for it and was bullied, but I could sleep at night, because ensuring compliance isn't just a bullet point in a job description.

veryserious 14 June 24 10:24

What has been revealed yesterday and today in Andrew Parsons's evidence has very serious implications for him personally, all Wombles partners and the PO board and Government . As a side issue how can Wombles still be being paid millions to defend their own actions. Wombles employees and clients stand up please .

Anon 14 June 24 10:29

Lawyers  should to do their job within a law ! They represent the LAW  and JUSTICES  . It’s disgusting disgrace career . 

Anonymous 14 June 24 10:33

The biggest miscarriage of justice in UK legal history and: 

- the Law Society won’t comment on the conduct of the lawyers involved 

- the SRA is unwilling to take action. 

It shines a light on a system which is clearly inadequate for the demands of the 21st century. 

 

Barnsbury 14 June 24 10:44

Surely the reason no action has been taken so far is that the relevant authorities are awaiting the findings of this inquiry? It would be pointless for the SRA to embark on its own investigation now, when this inquiry is about to do 80% of the work for it. Also, by relying on the outcome of the inquiry, it will be much more difficult for the SRA to sweep the whole thing under the carped, or be accused of doing so. 

Ex-Womble 14 June 24 10:45

Horrible place to work, so glad I got out when I did. Full of bullies with pointy elbows (particular partners in Southampton) and back slappers who line their own pockets. 

Back in 2017 - 2019 both Amy and Andy were treated like gods in that place. We were all constantly reminded how they were bank-rolling the firm. Yes, they were out of their depth, but actually the pair of them are genuinely nice people and I do wish them both well. 

Helix consensus 14 June 24 10:46

@simple simon @08.31 and why isn't Gavin Matthews on the stand? He was our senior partner through most of this. It is becoming more and more obvious that the DR team didn't properly manage an egotistical junior partner's work at the time and now they have thrown him under the bus. Charming. And as for Paul Stewart, his Lord Lucan style management has gone from making our firm surprised at his ineffectiveness to outraged by his absence of mind or voice. The whole business group needs a reshuffle the firm desperately needs a new MP. One who can communicate and not treat everything like a piece of litigation would be a start... 

wombleswoes 14 June 24 10:52

Wombles is riddled right from the top. Beezer is a board member. Paul Stewart is the MP and he was head of litigation throughout the PO scandal. The immediate past chair was post office client partner and his best friend and successor Nick Barwood deputy client partner . This's is endemic not just a few rough individuals £62 million pounds endemic. […]

NorthernPeasant 14 June 24 10:52

The Wombles who don't like the spiv nature of the firm need to think about staying. Addleshaws - lol Horizon Scheme while taking money from Therium.

Anonymous 14 June 24 10:55

Tom Beezer, Andrew Parsons and Adam Taylor-Smith all sit in the Southampton office together. They probably pop down to the Mayflower together from time to time. 
 

parsonsshame 14 June 24 10:58

liars and criminals how dare you say that Andrew Parsons . You are a disgrace to the profession, to Wombles and the human race . The fact Wombles hold you in such high regard says everything about. Wombles . This marks the end of your career and you will take Wombles down with you. 

Anonymous 14 June 24 11:18

Womble Bond Dickinson Partner Andrew Parsons called the subpostmasters who were falsely accused of crimes and subjected to miscarriages of justice as “criminals and liars”.

If that isn’t enough for Womble Bond Dickinson staff to walk out, what is? 

Dearie 14 June 24 11:22

The advice Wombles gave was not illegal or shady, it was good commercial advice. PO decides it needs its insurers (can't risk not notifying of a potential problem) but an avid opponent would leap on that if it were disclosed, even if nothing had been established. Of course hindsight makes everything look suspicious but I think they did an ok job of supporting the client. Initially, they wouldn't know that their client had entirely cocked things up. The problem came when WBD did not mind their duty to the court over duty to client as soon as they realised their client was getting it wrong. I am not even a fan of Wombles but I don't think they're the real villain. 

 

The Americanisation of litigation is the biggest problem here, and it'll start to bite every litigator and make life worse for everyone. When we take on a client do we now have to forensically analyse everything first in case the client has forgotten something they aren't aware of? No, it's called litigation risk.

Anonymous 14 June 24 11:24

I fully agree that this is all disgraceful behaviour - but is it remotely unusual? It certainly isn't unusual for lawyers to advise clients not to commit certain things to writing in order to avoid leaving a paper trail. It certainly isn't unusual for lawyers to dispute disclosure in ways which can stretch the rules sometimes. It certainly isn't unusual for lawyers to act extremely aggressively in disputes, including where their opponents are non-sophisticated parties and (as here) individuals. 

Commercial litigators are paid to help rich guys win disputes, either against the common man or against other rich guys - it's as simple as that. Even if WBD hadn't commited the specific breaches which have been exposed here, it would still be taking millions in order to fight aggressively against subpostmasters in every way (as litigators in every firm do). That poses wider questions about the ethics of corporate law, ones which can be overlooked in the rush to describe WBD as a bad apple and exculpate other similar lawyers.

reverse 14 June 24 11:26

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The swell of anger 14 June 24 11:27

Further revelations at the inquiry today. 

Advising your client to use the media to defame the subpostmasters doesn’t sit well with the obligation within the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Standards and Regulations to always “act in a way that upholds public trust and confidence in the solicitors' profession”.

1055 14 June 24 11:29

At 1055 Gavin Matthews is Southampton , Simon Richardson Southampton Nick Barwood Southampton. Get me? 

where is gavinmatthews? 14 June 24 11:33

Andy deflecting now to Gavin Matthews ( and Simon Richardson) Will they be called?

The Andy Parsons Project 14 June 24 11:47

I can guarantee there will be not an ounce of remorse, shame or guilt about all this within the WBD board and senior management team.  Dreadful, amoral people who are incapable of acting with integrity.  They will genuinely think that the press, ROF, the inquiry and everything else is being unfair on them and nothing anyone can say will make them think otherwise.

Anonymous 14 June 24 11:54

@11.29’s post could be construed as the Newcastle, London and Bristol staff saying the Southampton office should take all the blame.

Remind me, who shared the £37m? 

HowIFeel 14 June 24 11:54

Challenging to maintain motivation on days like today, especially after perusing the comments related to various stories.

Initially, I believed the organisation could weather this storm. I thought my resilience was sufficient to disregard the feedback and focus on my tasks, but today, I lack that strength.

Please refrain from insulting or mistreating me based on my emotions or my workplace. While I desire to leave, finding a suitable alternative proves difficult. Moreover, the negative reputation associated with my current workplace has affected my short-term prospects.

Anonymous 14 June 24 11:59

A few points.

Law Soc aren't the regulator - SRA are - they will be the ones taking action.  They can't do that until the Inquiry reports and have made it clear that they cannot / will not comment before that.  Frustrating though it might be, they are not delaying and can't (yet) be criticised.

Not disclosing the Guidelines was not wrong at the time, as there were no civil proceedings ongoing (although possibly a breach of pre-action protocol / other obligations).

Advising the client not to create documents in order to avoid disclosure obligations in civil proceedings is also not wrong and many litigation lawyers will give that advice on a daily basis.  There is nothing "wrong" with that advice in civil proceedings, and it would not amount to misconduct.

However - making subsequent statements, or asserting or pleading facts that they know to be false because they knew there were errors in Horizon (even if they might have avoided creating non-privileged docs that would prove that) would a) potentially result in a number of criminal offences being committed, and b) amount to misconduct.

In addition, not creating documents in order to avoid disclosure obligations in civil proceedings does not override the disclosure obligations in the criminal prosecutions and particularly in relation to the appeals and case reviews that were happening at the same time as the civil proceedings, or which might have undercut the criminal convictions that had been obtained, but which weren't being challenged.  That behaviour is also likely to have potential criminal implications and / or amount to misconduct.

Rosie Brocklehurst 14 June 24 12:04

Yet again WBD gets its praetorian guard pushing out a defence of the defenceless on here.  Reputation in the wider world however counts at the bottom line and people in Britain want people brought to account.  Parsons will not survive this.  Whoever thinks Beezer and particularly Parsons put on a good show has no moral compass.  Parsons not only built his career and sizeable income by condemning innocent Subpostmasters to a horrible fate,he encouraged a cheap get out mediation scheme as a cover for what he knew about Bugs Errors and Defects from the Clarke advice.  I watched this appalling man give evidence -entirely cold and reticent about an apology, who obviously needs to be struck off - with increasing horror along with of the 160 Lost Chances for Subpostmaster Children group I helped set up with Katie Downey.  They are young enough and energised enough to see what this man and Stephen Dilley and Beezer did to their parents and to them.We won't give up until Parsons and WBD is brought to account.  For when the parents were harmed -made homeless and bankrupt, so where the children harmed -often bullied at school, and in the case of some they lost their parents -Fraser Holmes father for example, a former police officer died before his conviction was overturned or nearly lost their own lives as in the case of Millie Castleton.   

anonymous 14 June 24 12:27

Barnbury is right to question whether it is always illegal to advise 'don't put it in writing'. In itself it isn't. But its the context that matters.

If the intention was 'we can - and will - deny that we've notified insurers' because then we can hide the oral notification, then that is unethical, lacking integrity and probably a striking off offence.

However, if the intention is 'we don't want anyone to find out about the notification, so don't want to unnecessarily have to include insurance notification in our documents and hope that nobody twigs/asks the question - but will of course not lie if a direct question is asked' then ...?

mak200 14 June 24 12:28

The following banner taken from the Wombles website seems accurate

 

A Point of View Like No Other

We don’t resemble other law firms. We don’t conduct ourselves like conventional lawyers. Womble Bond Dickinson: A point of view like no other.

Eggery 14 June 24 12:32

Why is the Court system not also on trial here? It was the Courts which did the convicting after all.

Uberrimae fidei 14 June 24 12:34

One wonders what the WBD PI cover is like.  There are the knowns, the known unknowns but it seems likely on advice given to their largest client that there may be unknown unknowns.  And where that involves two or more partners that can render PI policies void.  Wonder too how many client engagement letters there are out there relying on that PI cover.  One for the SRA to ponder whilst determining fitness to practice.  No doubt they are all over it.
 

Their advice put people in jail, in hospital and in penury. And kept them there.  Were they acting at all times pursuant to their duties as officers of the court? Did they sign any witness statements which were anything other than full in their disclosure? Were they party to any sworn statements which they knew or ought to have known were not true and complete?

It really is pretty ugly in the cold light of day.

Anonymous 14 June 24 13:25

I commend the Womble staff member (11.54 post) who has been brave enough to articulate the toll that the firm’s involvement in this inquiry has had upon them.  

I imagine it is very demotivating to be at a business which had a central role in the UK’s worst miscarriage of justice and hasn’t paid a penny back. I hope you find a new firm soon. 

An Accountant 14 June 24 13:59

@11:24 Perhaps the unusual feature is to put the advice about not writing things down, in writing?!

Anonymous 14 June 24 14:01

"Please refrain from insulting or mistreating me based on my emotions or my workplace. While I desire to leave, finding a suitable alternative proves difficult."

Stop fishing for pity.

You could leave tonight if you actually wanted to. There's no sympathy on offer for people who say that they are morally virtuous and oh so sincerely want to leave... but really mean that their strong moral compass doesn't extend to enduring a short term pay cut and so they're willing to stay suckling on the WBD teat for however long as it takes them to line up something sufficiently cushy next (and who will probably be there for years until that arrives).

You'd rather trouser the maximum amount of cash than take home slightly less and honour your supposed principles.

That doesn't get a pat on the back. It's just badly camouflaged self-interest.

An Accountant 14 June 24 14:05

The fact that all the critical comments on here still talk about merely striking off, rather than jailing,  suggests to me that the legal profession generally still hasn't understood how rotten are a significant minority of its members.

Donald Joffers 14 June 24 14:21

@ Womble NQ 14 June 24 09:34

Hard agree! In a similar position and I'm having the same thoughts.

Northern Womble 14 June 24 14:44

the Horizon scandal is a horrendous miscarriage of justice, and I am pleased that our evidence is now in the open. 

Just a quick note on @Womble NQ 14 June 24 09:34 - this person is either not actually a Womble or is completely ignorant to their new employer, as the GC is, in fact, a woman. 

Rats off a sinking ship 14 June 24 14:53

The recent high profile partner [exits] at WBD last year make sense now (I don’t mean the one who ‘allegedly’ groped female staff which ROF reported on recently). I mean, at least they had the decency to leave this rotten business I find myself working in although ‘rats off a sinking ship’ springs to mind. 🐀 🐀

A number of us would leave right now but we have mortgages to pay and families to feed and most of us don’t  earn the kind of dollar that allows us to leave whilst we look for something else. Be in no doubt though, a number of us are looking.

Anonymous 14 June 24 15:49

Can someone explain why Companies House lists so many female partners leaving between February and May 2024?

 

 

🍾 🥂 14 June 24 15:53

Holding a series of champagne summer parties is a rather zany move in the circumstances.

If I was a client invited to that, I’d be finding an excuse not to attend. 💩 sticks. 

Friday Feeling 14 June 24 16:09

There’s a way out of this for WBD:

1. Betty Temple issues a public apology to the subpostmasters.

2. WBD jettisons every single person involved in doing anything wrong with the Post Office files. 

 

3. WBD pays the full £60m back to the subpostmaster compensation fund.
 

Do not cry little womble 14 June 24 16:32

Other law firms will accept you*. 

All you need to do is send your CV out. 

* there are probably a couple of people who may struggle to get a new firm. 

Lord Lester 14 June 24 16:42

Rats off a sinking ship 14 June 24 14:53: Gropers, you say! I am liking WBD more and more! When can I join?

R Donn 14 June 24 16:42

Re: Anon-14 June-10.24- ‘do postmasters have a cause of action against WBD?’- see malicious prosecution as discussed in Willers v Joyce [2016] UKSC 43 (20 July 2016) and [2016] UKSC 44

notnice 14 June 24 16:51

Wombles are just not nice people . And being nice does actually matter these days. Macho silly litigation boys and i mean boys is no longer the fashion!

Anon 14 June 24 17:06

I'm pretty sure the PLC precedent letter to a client advising on disclosure includes advice not to create documents.

Shameful 14 June 24 17:09

What is even more shameful is how wombles were thinking of putting teir work for the post office up for an award when it was all happening. Either they had no clue what was actually happening or they just didn't care. My bet is on the former. They're so bloody stupid, just look at the firm's name FFS

Lol 14 June 24 17:12

@rats 14.53 - do you really want us to name them, cause we can, stop burrying your hand in the sand please. 

Anonymous 14 June 24 17:18

Some of the behaviour from WBD seems repugnant.

I mean telling your client not to disclose relevant information, advising your client to smear innocent people in the press, trying to brave it out once it became obvious the IT system was flawed, promoting people who have behaved so badly that people are calling it the Post Office Scandal and failing to apologise or pay back the money at the first opportunity.

A reasonable person would be working on their CV this weekend and looking to leave that firm as quickly as possible.  Better to do that, than to go down with the ship. 

Human 14 June 24 17:27

I'm going to call humbug on this. The whole legal litigation profession is predicated on an understanding that the law does not mechanically apply itself to the facts with complete indifference. Experts understand that certain tactics, certain strategies, certain magic words (think "protected characteristic,", "human rights", ) can achieve a disproportionate response from the legal system.

From the duty solicitor coaching a client on how to no comment, to the slick city professional telling the post office to forward to his team all emails about a post office operational issue which required remote access to rectify, legal privilege defeats all the purposes of justice from beginning to end. The only explanation is that lawyers are disproportionately represented amongst those in Parliament who make the law.

I don't blame Andy Parsons for abusing legal privilege. The entire doctrine of legal privilege is an abuse. 

St Ann 14 June 24 19:57

I've enjoyed reading the comments here and searching for the 'Voice of Flynn'. I've heard it a few times.

Maggie May 14 June 24 20:06

Rosie Brocklehurst I salute and I applaud you and those you champion. Conquer you will and conquer you must. Well done done for having the guts for the fight.

Claire and Eddie 14 June 24 20:27

Believe it or not, Andy’s a good guy who works extremely hard. He’s obviously made some mistakes, but we all do. 

I honestly don’t believe there is much more to it in his case than a young partner thrown in at the deep end with very little support or back up.

The problem with that firm is that treating people terribly has become its trademark. That is why, quite apart from the post office scandal, there is such vitriol directed at it and its truly awful leadership every single time any story - whether theoretically positive or, like this one, negative - is published.

Wake up and smell the coffee Paul, Jonny, Wildebeest et al: you are the problem, and there is only one solution: do the decent thing by your staff and clients and move on (ideally not to darken the door of another law firm). 

They all deserve so much more.

1727 14 June 24 21:03

1727 pm this is about Wombles and in particular Andrew Parsons crossing a redline . It is one thing to play hard ball for your client but what Parsons did ( whatever the motive) went way beyond the professional . 

Sue 14 June 24 21:59

The law which allows innocent people to serve a prison sentence because it seems legitimately solicitors can advise their clients to withhold disclosure of evidence which may prove their innocence is an ass. So the inquiry is flawed. As Sir Wyn will have no alternative than to find that WBD were paid to act for the interests POL and that's exactly what they were doing. It's obvious millions of tax payers money would have been chucked at it in perpetuity to preserve the reputation of the PO and those in high authority. Even after this inquiry it's my guess it will womble on forever.

 

Sir Alan 14 June 24 23:44

Congratulations Sir Alan Bates knighted today in recognition of his fight for justice against the Wombles. As he said in acceptance speech there is a lot more work to do to recover money from various sources to repay the taxpayer . Wombles you are front of the queque. 

Performing Pennance 14 June 24 23:54

It’s rather interesting that Womble Bond Dickinson didn’t even finish in the bottom three of the Roll on Friday survey. 

If the staff really were furious at management WBD would have won the golden 💩. 

 

Anon 15 June 24 00:11

Lord Lester 14 June 24 16:42: we are all delighted that Lord Lester’s victim, Dame Jasvinder Sanghera, was appointed DBE in the King’s Honours List. Congratulations from us all, Dame Jasvinder. It is always pleasing when victims are honoured for bringing attention to wrongdoing. In the same vein, Sir Alan Bates, a victim of the Post Office scandal, was knighted in the same List. 

Sue 15 June 24 04:17

The law which allows innocent people to serve a prison sentence because it seems legitimately solicitors can advise their clients to withhold disclosure of evidence which may prove their innocence is an ass. So the inquiry is flawed. As Sir Wyn will have no alternative than to find that WBD were paid to act for the interests POL and that's exactly what they were doing. It's obvious millions of tax payers money would have been chucked at it in perpetuity to preserve the reputation of the PO and those in high authority. Even after this inquiry it's my guess it will womble on forever.

 

854 15 June 24 10:20

854 am Wombles arrogantly boasting over social media that Law Soc President spending the day with them next week. Error of judgement on both sides ?

where are the toughnortherners 15 June 24 10:25

why are the Wombles partners so weak that they allow their inept board to make such a mess of the biggest miscarriage in legal history? 

womblepartner 15 June 24 10:44

For years and years we were told how amazing Simon Richardson was , why he should be paid so many bonuses for all the amazing work he did for the Post Office and how much richer we partners were all for it. Looking at the evidence from Inquiry not only makes me sick what we were up to but also gives the lie to what Simon and Board were telling us . A shameful chapter in Wombles history which will sadly be defining for us all. 

Anonymous 15 June 24 11:46

Womble staff, 

I’d be interested to understand, out of ten (with ten being the highest) how well you think the firm’s partners have handled this scandal.

Also, how likely are you to remain with the law firm for your whole career after these revelations?

Get real 15 June 24 12:53

You all need to get real. Firms like Wombles get work because people are VERY loyal to Wombles lawyers. In return, Wombles lawyers are VERY loyal to their clients. That type of dynamic can end disasterously of course. This likely won’t be limited to those mentioned in this article and other high profile clients of Wombles like HSBC, Heathrow Airport and Sainsbury’s will likely know this (if they don’t WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!) and are prepared to run the risks of being associated with Wombles and this type of culture. And that’s what this is about - culture. 

it's simplemsimon 15 June 24 13:29

One Womble was name dropped by all the partners appearing at the Inquiry . Simon Richardson. He is the architect of the Post Office strategy. Why is the top dog at Womble for post office as client partner and Chair of Womble not appearing . Maybe because he didn't write anything down? 

Arise Sir Alan 15 June 24 13:33

So Andy Parsons " liars and criminals"?!  Would you like to congratulate Sir Alan? His work is not yet done with you . 

Dalek 15 June 24 15:50

what human said at 1727 is completely correct. LPP facilitates a massive amount of wrongdoing and should be thoroughly reviewed. It's difficult to see why it should exist in civil matters at all.

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