Baker McKenzie’s London managing partner fiercely criticised the conduct of Gary Senior and two other figures at the firm in a letter to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, claiming they had ‘subverted' disciplinary processes, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has heard.
On the ninth day of a hearing into allegations of misconduct at the City firm, the tribunal heard that Alex Chadwick, Baker McKenzie’s London managing partner, wrote a letter to the SRA in February 2019 saying Senior, Thomas Kennedy Cassels and Martin Blackburn had ‘betrayed the trust of their colleagues in the firm’ and ‘subverted the firm’s process’.
Chadwick added: ‘It is difficult to overstate the shock and anger within the LLP that certain individuals acted in a way fundamentally at odds with values of the LLP and the firm’.
Senior’s counsel, Gregory Treverton-Jones QC, said that Baker McKenzie had subsequently issued a ‘recantation’ and had ‘misunderstood the factual position’ at the time Chadwick’s letter was sent. He added the firm have now seen emails which provide ‘greater context’.
The letter was referred to during the cross examination of Thomas Kennedy Cassels, a former Baker McKenzie partner who investigated Senior’s alleged misconduct. Cassels is now a partner at Linklaters.
Under questioning, Cassels accepted that he found some of the emails Senior sent during the investigation ‘inappropriate’ and ‘annoying’ and that ‘there were occasions during the course of meetings or discussions when [Senior] expressed himself very badly’.
Cassels maintained, however, that the investigation had not been improperly influenced.
Former London managing partner Senior, admitted in 1986, is accused of trying to embrace and kiss a colleague identified as Person A in 2012 despite receiving no indication of consent, and persisting despite Person A indicating that it was not appropriate. Senior, who last year left Baker McKenzie, allegedly acted knowing he was in a position of authority and responsibility. He denies the allegation.
Thomas Kennedy Cassels and Martin Lawrence Blackburn, who were with Baker McKenzie in 2012 as a partner and head of HR respectively, are being prosecuted by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in relation to the investigation that began when Person A made a complaint. The firm is also being prosecuted.