Law firm Baker McKenzie will commission an independent review of how the firm handles sexual misconduct and other inappropriate behaviours.
This follows the disclosure that one of its partners had been accused of sexually assaulting a female associate following an event. The firm reportedly made a substantial payment to the associate and forced her to sign a confidentiality agreement before she left the firm. Not only was the partner able to remain at the firm but it has been claimed that he was later promoted.
The incident took place more than a year ago but only yesterday, a statement announced that the partner would be leaving the firm.
It has not yet been disclosed, which firm will be carrying out the review.
‘As a firm, our values of inclusion and diversity are extremely important to us and we are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all employees. That is why we are commissioning an independent review of this particular incident and how it was subsequently handled. The review will also consider how we handle complaints of sexual misconduct and other inappropriate behaviours toward colleagues, to ensure we are guaranteeing the protection of our employees.’
‘We are in dialogue with the Solicitors Regulation Authority on this matter. We are really sorry this incident ever happened and we acknowledge we should have handled it better.’
The Solicitors Regulation Authority said it was ‘aware of the issue and gathering all relevant information before deciding on appropriate action’, but had not yet opened a formal investigation.
This follows last week’s apology from Berwin Leighton Paisner after it was disclosed that it provided legal advice to the disgraced Presidents Club while one of its partners attended last month’s dinner at which, according to an undercover reporter, hostesses were subjected to groping and inappropriate comments.