Baker McKenzie partner embroiled in sexual assault scandal to leave as firm faces SRA scrutiny

The Baker McKenzie partner at the centre of a sexual assault scandal is set to leave the firm as it faces scrutiny from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) over its handling of the alleged incident.

The global firm confirmed today (5 February) that the partner who allegedly assaulted a female associate is to leave, with the news coming as the SRA seeks further information from Bakers about its handling of the incident.

The historic incident, which took place at a work event more than a year ago and was first reported by RollOnFriday, resulted in an associate receiving a payout from Bakers and entering into a confidentiality agreement before leaving.

An SRA spokesperson said: “Now that we’re aware of the issue, we will seek further information before deciding on appropriate action.”

Firms are required to alert the SRA promptly if they believe lawyers have broken the SRA’s code of conduct.

Bakers has apologised for how it managed the incident and is preparing to launch an independent review into its handling of the event.

A Bakers spokesperson said: “We are in dialogue with the SRA on this matter. As a firm, our values of inclusion and diversity are extremely important to us and we are committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all employees. That is why we are commissioning an independent review of this particular incident and how it was subsequently handled by the firm.

“The review will also consider how we handle complaints of sexual misconduct and other inappropriate behaviour toward colleagues, to ensure we are guaranteeing the protection of our employees. We are really sorry this incident ever happened and we acknowledge we should have handled it better.”

Earlier this month, Dentons suspended a male partner in response to allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

The firm has launched an internal investigation into the claims, which refer to behaviour by the partner when he was at legacy Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens, which merged with Dentons in July last year.