Is the legal business next in line for the #Metoo treatment meted out within the movie, fashion and other industries?
According to a UK Times story two-thirds of women lawyers have experienced sexual harassment in one form or another.
The Times story says that the UK complaints authority (Solicitors Regulation Authority or SRA) have received about one complaint a month which may indicate a significant issue but not perhaps to the epidemic proportions suggested by The Times.
However, they quote a leading employment lawyer, Andrew Burns QC, who says that City lawyers may be next in line for high profile exposure.
“The training dynamic of young, enthusiastic trainees or pupil barristers working closely for long hours, often late evenings, with senior influential lawyers is a high-risk environment,” he said.
Global legal giant Dentons recently announced the departure of a male lawyer with a spokesman saying the firm had become aware of reports of inappropriate behaviour and that “Immediately upon becoming aware of these reports we launched an internal investigation and placed the partner on a leave of absence.”
Although no sexual harassment was found in the Dentons case, following a firm investigation, they did find that the behaviour of the partner fell below what was expected of partners and he has been left and all web traces from the Denton website removed.
And last week a German-based Linklaters partner was jailed for three years over a sexual assault.
While in New Zealand, prestigious New Zealand law firm Russell McVeagh was embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal involving a number of summer interns and two, now departed, male lawyers.
Increasingly, particularly in the #Metoo age, law firms are stepping up their vigilance over sexual harassment issues in an attempt to avoid the mayhem embracing other industry sectors.
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