Sexual assault appears to be all the rage in the entertainment industry – and many others – but is the law business immune? Hardly, and a recently reported gagging order against one of the world’s largest law firms, Baker + McKenzie, appears to prove the point firmly.
The Times reported that the firm is being investigated after forcing a junior female lawyer to sign the gagging order following accusations she made about a sexual assault from a male partner.
The allegation relates to an apparent assault during one of Baker + McKenzie’s social events when a partner from Baker + McKenzie asked several junior lawyers to his hotel room – which is also room for the trouble that evidently followed.
According to the Times report, the firm has made a substantial payment to the woman following her complaint to the firm’s human resources department about the alleged incident.
The firm claims to have sanctioned the male lawyer, although report that he has been subsequently promoted.
Sexual Assault in Law Firms
The problem of sexual assault within law firms is common, if not endemic according to reports.
Last year, AbovetheLaw reported in their ‘Pink Ghetto’ series on the issue, saying that the issue was “pervasive” in small firms and large.
In Australia in an ABC report about an Australian Law Council report showed that 24 per cent of female lawyers reported sexual harassment issues. A sexual assault lawyer in that country said some male lawyers actually groomed younger female lawyers for sexual assault, saying the law profession was one of the worst offenders in terms of sexual assault of any business.
Certainly sexual assault within the law business is something that is common and reported in other major jurisdictions and remains an important issues.
Lawyers cannot – it seems – hold their head up any higher than many other professions and businesses that have a major sexual assault issue to contend with.