LONDON, Feb 21 (Reuters) - The London branch of global law firm Baker Mckenzie said on Wednesday it had appointed an external legal team to review how it had responded to an employee’s allegation that she had been sexually assaulted by one of the firm’s partners.
Baker Mckenzie has issued an apology over the way it handled the complaint by an associate, which it said occurred several years ago. She had received a confidential settlement, it said.
A spokeswoman said on Wednesday the firm had appointed lawyers at Simmons & Simmons to examine the incident, how it was handled and to review complaints policies and procedures.
“We will follow the recommendations of the review and will take all appropriate action,” she said. “As a firm, our values of inclusion and diversity are extremely important to us and we are committed to ensuring the welfare of all employees.”
Law firms have largely not been caught up in the #MeToo social media movement, in which thousands of women have shared stories of sexual misconduct by men.
The partner at the centre of these allegations is no longer in the London office and is set to leave the firm, Baker McKenzie has told Reuters. The firm said it had treated the allegations “very seriously” at the time, had carried out a thorough investigation and sanctioned the partner.
It declined to give further details and also declined to comment on a report on the legal website RollOnFriday that the partner had been promoted after the associate reported the incident, while she had left the firm.
The firm has acknowledged it should have handled the incident “better”.
Reporting by Kirstin Ridley, editing by David Evans