Morrison & Foerster has retained outside counsel to conduct an investigation into the allegations of sexual assault against partner Justin Fairfax, Virginia’s lieutenant governor.
Fairfax is taking a leave of absence during the investigation and is cooperating with the investigators, Larren Nashelsky, the firm’s chairman, said in a statement to The National Law Journal on Friday night.
Morrison & Foerster did not identify the outside counsel conducting the investigation.
“We take the allegations against Justin very seriously,” Nashelsky said. “As a firm, we believe that it is important to seriously listen to any allegation of sexual assault or harassment, and to treat all persons making such allegations with respect and sensitivity.”
Fairfax has forcefully denied claims of sexual assault from two women who publicly identified themselves over the past week. He retained Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz’s Rakesh Kilaru in D.C. in response to the first assault allegation.
Kilaru was not immediately reached Friday night for comment.
Vanessa Tyson, a Scripps College professor, publicly accused Fairfax earlier this week of sexually assaulting her in 2004. Katz, Marshall & Banks attorneys in D.C. are assisting Tyson.
Meredith Watson, a Maryland woman, alleged on Friday that Fairfax sexually assaulted her in 2000 when she and Fairfax were students at Duke University. Smith Mullin’s Nancy Erika Smith is representing Watson.