The #Metoo movement seems to follow Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer like a very bad smell, but the latest issue involves a Freshfield’s woman partner whose conduct in respect of the investigation of a rape complaint involving a UBS bank employee has come under scrutiny from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
The Financial Times reported that Freshfields employment partner Caroline Stroud was being investigated by the watchdog for her conduct in dealing with a review of the investment bank’s handling of a rape allegation.
Caroline Stroud is an experienced commercial litigator specialising in employment issues, including investigations of misconduct by regulators.
Freshfields said in a statement ‘We refute the allegations’, made against Stroud after she was drafted in by UBS to review the way in which the bank investigated a complaint of an alleged rape victim against a colleague.
Nevertheless, the SRA has seen fit to launch a probe into the allegations, but would not be drawn on the timeframe. A spokesperson for the SRA said: ‘We are investigating before deciding on any next steps. Our work on this matter continues, but we cannot discuss any details about our work while it is ongoing.’
The regulator is reportedly reviewing complaints that Stroud did not make her role in acting for UBS clear to the alleged victim, referred to as ‘Ms A’, something that the firm and Stroud apparently deny.
The #Metoo issue is something Freshfields would not be happy about following the issues involving partner Ryan Beckwith (pictured left) who last year was fined by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal regarding inappropriate sexual conduct with a junior lawyer, which prompted the firm to reform is practices over the manner in which such behaviour is handled.
The growth of the #Metoo movement and the criticism faced by regulators has seen increasingly stern measures taken over the handling of complaints of this nature.
Freshfields, it seems, is once again at the forefront of #Metoo matters, just when it must have thought they were being left behind.
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