City firm Berwin Leighton Paisner has said it is carrying out an ‘extensive review’ of its associations after it was named as a ‘legal adviser’ to the Presidents Club Charitable Trust.
The firm said it was undertaking the review to ensure that its associations, including charities, and ’choices made by partners and others involved with the firm’ reflected its ‘diversity and other values’.
According to accounts filed with the Charity Commission, the firm acted as ‘principal legal adviser’ to the charitable trust. The firm said it had carried out ’occasional pieces of work for this charity on a pro bono basis as we do for a number of other registered charities’.
The Presidents Club’s annual men-only black-tie event, held at London’s Dorchester Hotel, hit headlines last week after the Financial Times reported that hostesses were subjected to groping and inappropriate comments.
BLP partner Graham Shear, head of international commercial dispute resolution, attended the event and has been listed as a ‘committee member’. The firm said in a statement today: ‘Our partner Graham Shear is extremely embarrassed and deeply regrets his attendance and any association with the dinner and apologises unreservedly.’ The firm added that Shear ‘recognises that such events are inconsistent with our values and beliefs.’
Lisa Mayhew, managing partner at BLP, added: ‘At BLP we have worked hard to create an environment where everyone is valued and motivated. We deplore the activities reported at The Presidents Club dinner. This event was absolutely contrary to BLP’s commitment to a culture that is respectful and promotes equal opportunities.’