Law firm Baker McKenzie reviews response to sexual assault allegation

By Kirstin Ridley

LONDON, Feb 21 (Reuters) – The London branch of global law
firm Baker Mckenzie said on Wednesday it had appointed an
external legal team to review how it had responded to an
employee’s allegation that she had been sexually assaulted by
one of the firm’s partners.

Baker Mckenzie has issued an apology over the way it handled
the complaint by an associate, which it said occurred several
years ago. She had received a confidential settlement, it said.

A spokeswoman said on Wednesday the firm had appointed
lawyers at Simmons & Simmons to examine the incident, how it was
handled and to review complaints policies and procedures.

“We will follow the recommendations of the review and will
take all appropriate action,” she said. “As a firm, our values
of inclusion and diversity are extremely important to us and we
are committed to ensuring the welfare of all employees.”

Law firms have largely not been caught up in the #MeToo
social media movement, in which thousands of women have shared
stories of sexual misconduct by men.

The partner at the centre of these allegations is no longer
in the London office and is set to leave the firm, Baker
McKenzie has told Reuters. The firm said it had treated the
allegations “very seriously” at the time, had carried out a
thorough investigation and sanctioned the partner.

It declined to give further details and also declined to
comment on a report on the legal website RollOnFriday that the
partner had been promoted after the associate reported the
incident, while she had left the firm.

The firm has acknowledged it should have handled the
incident “better”.

(Reporting by Kirstin Ridley, editing by David Evans)

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