I read with interest your recent articles regarding bullying in the profession and was interested to see the responses from the larger firms. I work in one of the large firms, and one that has been quoted in LawTalk as having had anti-harassment policies for many years. Yet, during the time I have worked at this firm, I have seen at least one partner be the subject of multiple personal grievance claims/allegations regarding bullying and/or harassment. Given the recurring nature of these claims, it therefore seems that no action has been taken by the firm to address the underlying behaviour.
In my experience anti-bullying policies work fine in law firms, except where it is a partner whose behaviour is in question. In such cases, firms do not seem to follow their policies, but rather seek to protect the partner at the expense of any staff involved, particularly where the partner is a high fee earner. This is no doubt due to the natural conflict of interest that HR staff have as employees of the very same partners who may be the perpetrators of the behaviour. It is only where issues are raised in the media that there seem to be any consequences for the partners themselves.
The inherent conflict of interest and double standards of the HR departments in such firms should in my view be highlighted in your articles, as until staff wellbeing is more important than partnership profits, nothing will change.
[Name withheld by agreement]
Last updated on the 4th May 2018