Baker McKenzie’s former London managing partner has been fined £55,000 for serious professional misconduct and will pay at least £40,000 to the regulator by way of costs.
Giving its verdict this morning, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal found that Gary Senior committed serious professional misconduct by attempting to embrace and kiss a junior colleague in 2012. It also found that Senior improperly sought, by reason of his position of seniority within the firm, to influence the subsequent investigation into his conduct.
The tribunal has issued a fine of £55,000. Senior, who avoided suspension, has also agreed to pay £40,000 plus VAT to cover the SRA's costs.
In mitigation, Senior’s barrister Gregory Treverton-Jones QC said the tribunal’s verdict was a ‘devastating blow’ to his client, who had acted in ‘a moment of madness when he had had too much to drink’. Treverton-Jones stressed Senior’s ‘stellar career’ at Baker McKenzie – which he joined shortly after graduating from Durham University – and his excellent people skills.
He also referred to Senior’s ‘unusual back story’, saying he grew up with ‘no silver spoon in his mouth’, having attended a ‘substandard comprehensive’.
All allegations against Baker McKenzie itself, former partner Thomas Cassels and former HR director Martin Blackburn were found not proved.
Gary Senior said: ‘I bitterly regret what happened in 2012. The matter was not covered up by the firm in 2012. An investigation was carried out by the firm involving a number of senior partners. At the time I believed I behaved appropriately in that investigation while cooperating with them and no comment to the contrary was made to me by those conducting the process. I cannot make any further comment until I have studied the tribunal’s reasons for deciding as they have, as they did not give any reasons for their decision today.’