An under-wraps unbiased evaluate of Baker McKenzie’s method to a sexual misconduct incident six years in the past has concluded there have been ‘a variety of shortcomings’ however particulars are scarce. In the meantime Mark Hastings, the disputes accomplice sacked by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan earlier this yr following ‘inappropriate behaviour’, has emerged at Mayfair boutique Grosvenor Legislation.
The affiliate left the agency after reaching a settlement and Bakers has confronted criticism for permitting the accomplice in query to remain on the agency and tackle subsequent senior roles. After information of the incident got here to mild in February this yr the agency introduced the accomplice would go away and acknowledged it ought to have dealt with the incident higher.
Bakers on Monday (eight October) filed the report back to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), which is investigating the incident and its response. Nevertheless, the agency has refused to reveal the content material publicly amid a non-disclosure settlement (NDA) signed on the time of the incident that forestalls identification of the sufferer. As a substitute, the agency opted to difficulty right now (11 October) an anonymised assertion from a ‘spokesperson’ noticeably missing in particulars that poses extra questions than it solutions. The agency declined to make any additional assertion or launch a replica of Simmons report.
‘Simmons commented that as a agency we had been significantly open and clear in our need to make sure that we received to the basis of the issue and to be taught from our errors,’ mentioned the spokesperson. ‘The report concluded that there have been a variety of shortcomings in the best way the incident was dealt with at the moment which we very a lot remorse…The SRA investigation is ongoing, as is our dedication to guard the privateness of the previous affiliate, as she has requested.’
A particular committee together with a bunch of senior Bakers companions labored on the evaluate alongside Simmons, finishing up greater than three dozen interviews and analysing paperwork.
The evaluate really helpful a collection of initiatives which the agency shall be introducing over the following few months, such because the introduction of a ‘first level of contact’ position in each workplace – a accomplice, affiliate or different professionals educated to cope with considerations round inappropriate conduct. The agency may even introduce obligatory office behaviour coaching.
Elsewhere, Mayfair litigation boutique Grosvenor Legislation has additionally introduced right now that it has employed former Quinn Emanuel accomplice Mark Hastings, who can also be presently beneath investigation by the SRA following allegations of ‘inappropriate behaviour’.
Quinn sacked Hastings with out compensation 5 months in the past following allegations by two employees members and an unbiased investigation carried out by Alison Levitt QC of Mishcon de Reya. Nevertheless, that Grosvenor Legislation has unveiled Hastings’ appointment implies that in the interim the continued SRA investigation has not affected his capacity to practise.
‘Mark is a wonderful practitioner and his appointment bolsters our rising staff,’ mentioned Grosvenor Legislation accomplice Daniel Astaire. ‘No remark shall be made into alleged issues with one other agency.’
Duty will now fall closely on the SRA to take the lead and determine the extent to which Baker McKenzie and Hastings have to be held to account for his or her actions to keep away from any accusation of a whitewash in each incidents.
For extra on the problem of Metropolis regulation’s dealing with of NDAs, see ‘Draining the swamp’ (£)