When Amber and Sean met up after work the topics of conversation ranged from fashion to developments in employment law to office politics/gossip. Usually it was office politics/gossip. They had once strayed into Brexit and quickly decided, never again.
“Did you hear about the latest partners’ meeting?” asked Sean. “No, what happened? Don’t say something interesting …. Or useful?” responded Amber. She wanted to be in those meetings rather than guessing and gossiping about what had gone on. But she decided not to embark on another “It’s about time I was a partner”, rant with Sean.
“Apparently they were talking about the office Christmas party”.
“But that’s not for months – and anyway we always just do the same thing”.
“Ah, but not this year’s party” Sean paused for dramatic effect ….. “the one four years ago”.
“Four years ago! What! Why? I can’t remember that.”
Sean gave Amber a quizzical smile “Just try. I think you probably can. I remember us talking about it at the time"
Amber looked down, closed her eyes and delved into her memory bank. After a moment she emerged. “Steve …. Morag ….. tequila shots …. A lot of them”
“Yep, that’s the one”
“And not long after Morag moved to that magic circle firm and Steve stayed with us – just.” It was all flooding back. It had been messy and difficult, but the overriding feeling at the time (at least among those in charge and making the decisions) had been that it would all blow over, no need to make a mountain out of a molehill, no one got hurt (and other assorted clichés).
“But why were the partners talking about it now – and how the hell do you know anyway?!”
Sean tapped the side of his nose and looking around and lowering his voice continued, “Well, apparently, Megan has left the magic circle firm after a couple of difficult years and a lot of time off and has made a complaint, involving Steve and the way this firm handled the situation.”
“So it didn’t blow over and it’s got messy again. Well I’m not surprised and I can’t say that I’m disappointed. What’s meant to be happening next? Presumably you know that as well” Amber asked and sighed.
“We’re all going to be interviewed and they are bringing in an external lawyer and HR person to look into it”.
Amber sat up and smiled. “I’m really looking forward to being interviewed. Steve and a few others had better look out.”
What's your experience of #MeToo issues in law firms? Still a problem - or not so today? What about historic cases?
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