A Baker McKenzie partner at the center of a sexual assault scandal will leave the firm as it faces scrutiny from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) over its handling of the alleged incident.
The global firm confirmed Monday that the partner who allegedly assaulted a female associate will leave, with the news coming as the SRA seeks further information from Baker McKenzie about its handling of the incident.
The historic incident, which took place at a work event more than a year ago and was first reported by RollOnFriday, resulted in an associate receiving a payout from Baker McKenzie and entering into a confidentiality agreement before leaving.
“Now that we’re aware of the issue, we will seek further information before deciding on appropriate action,” a spokesperson for the SRA said.
Firms are required to alert the SRA immediately if they believe lawyers have broken the SRA’s code of conduct.
Baker McKenzie has apologized for how it managed the incident and is preparing to launch an independent review into its handling of the event.
“We are in dialogue with the SRA on this matter,” a Baker McKenzie spokesperson said. “As a firm, our values of inclusion and diversity are extremely important to us and we are committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all employees. That is why we are commissioning an independent review of this particular incident and how it was subsequently handled by the firm.
The spokesperson said the review will also consider how the firm handles complaints of sexual misconduct and other inappropriate behavior. “We are really sorry this incident ever happened and we acknowledge we should have handled it better,” the firm spokesperson said.
Earlier this month, Dentons suspended a male partner in response to allegations of inappropriate behavior.
The firm has launched an internal investigation into the claims, which refer to behavior by the partner when he was at legacy Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens, which merged with Dentons in July of last year.