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“Natalie is Toast” – Big Law Partner Allegedly Tried to Close Down Female Lawyer’s Evidence

A Herbert Smith Freehills partner allegedly claimed that a female complainants actions would end her career if persisted with them.

The claims have gone to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Herbert Smith Freehills said that employment partner Andrew Taggart (pictured, left) had been reported to the UK Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

There is no suggestion of other professional standards breaches.

Twenty seven year old finance associate Nathalie Abildgaard was awarded £270,000 in April after settling a sexual harassment case against her employer IFM Investors in a ‘sex pest’ case against the financial company and an executive director at the firm. Abilgaard wrote in a submission to the Women and Equalities Committee a HSF lawyer had engaged in ‘aggressive and intimidating behaviour.’

In evidence for the Women and Equalities Committee, Abildgaard said she “had to spend in excess of £100k in legal fees (which I will not be reimbursed as part of the settlement), take a full year leave of absence from work, as well withstand aggressive and intimidating behaviour by IFM Investors and their lawyers, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP”.

The written evidence details how Taggart had allegedly stressed to Abildgaard’s lawyer that if she gave evidence on the matter her career in the City’s finance industry would be effectively over.

In her submission Abildgaard accuses Taggart of using words to the effect of: ‘If Nathalie goes on the witness stand tomorrow, her and her partner’s credibility will be so shuddered they will never be able to work in the financial industry in London again.’ Taggart was alleged to have concluded that ‘Nathalie is toast.’

Abildgaard’s case was settled without using the controversial use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), which have been the subject of considerable controversy as well as scrutiny.

A report by the Women and Equalities Committee on discrimination and harassment in the workplace published on 11 June condemned the ‘routine cover-up’ of discrimination allegations by employers

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