Just weeks after Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer faced a high-profile age discrimination claim in a London employment tribunal, the firm is once again under a harsh public spotlight. On Thursday one of the firm’s most senior corporate lawyers was fined a relatively stiff �9,000 by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal over a client conflict in a proposed acquisition of British retailer Marks & Spencer.
Barry O’Brien, a Freshfields partner who is the former co-head of the firm’s global corporate practice, admitted in Thursday’s hearing that he had not acted in the best interests of his client and that he had brought the profession into disrepute by accepting the assignment. In addition to the fine, he agreed to pay the �50,000 costs that the Law Society of England & Wales incurred in bringing the case.
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