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14 February 2018

Dentons partner leaves after sexual harassment probe

A former partner at Scottish legacy firm Maclay Murray & Spens was asked to leave the global legal giant after an investigation found his 'behaviour fell well below expectations'.

By Catherine Baksi

A partner accused of sexual harassment had left global law firm Dentons after an investigation into sexual harassment claims. The partner, who has not been named, was suspended last month while the firm carried out an internal investigation into the allegations. It found that his behaviour had fallen ‘well below’ expectations and he was he was asked to leave.

Legacy firm

He worked in the Edinburgh office of Denton’s and, at the time of the alleged incident, was a partner at Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens, which was taken over by Dentons last summer. In a statement, Dentons said: ‘Last month we became aware that reports of inappropriate behaviour were made against a Maclay Murray & Spens partner about 15 months ago, more than a year before MMS’s merger with Dentons. ‘Immediately upon becoming aware of these reports, we launched an internal investigation and placed the partner on a leave of absence.’

No longer at firm

Confirming that the man had now left the firm, Dentons issued a statement saying it had found ‘no evidence’ of sexual harassment, but said: ‘During the investigation it became apparent that the behaviour of the partner concerned fell well below the expectations that we have of our partners. We can confirm that he has now left the firm.’ The individual who raised the complaint, is still employed by the firm.

Baker McKenzie

It followed a similar situation at global rival Baker McKenzie, which has also come under scrutiny for attempting to cover up allegations of sexual harassment made against one of its most senior lawyers.  Baker McKenzie is understood to have entered a ‘confidentiality agreement’ with the complainant, to whom it made a ‘substantial’ payment and who subsequently left the firm. In contrast, the partner concerned was promoted after the incident. The firm said last week that the man, whose details are still on its website, is no longer in the office and is to leave the firm.

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