Travers 'discriminated against pregnant trainee', tribunal hears

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  • I think the real story here is that such a claim actually made it into the public arena. God knows how many discrimination suits against the MC have been settled quietly with a suitcase full of cash.
    The question is whether (i) TS refused to settle because they feel strongly that they did nothing wrong, (ii) TS refused to settle because the claim was too high, or (iii) the lady wanted it to be public.

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  • "The firm claimed its partners had received diversity and equal opportunities training, while King told the tribunal that a review of the firm’s trainee-scheme policies by the SRA had shown no cause for concern."
    The sentiments implicit in those comments did make me smile on a Friday afternoon in the office.... If those are two principal points of the Travers' defence, my pro bono advice is to settle now.... You are welcome Travers chaps and (possibly fewer) chapesses.

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  • Anonymous | 15-Feb-2013 4:18 pm: Travers Smith made up a corporate lawyer just last year whilst she was on maternity leave - it can and does happen.

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  • They went on a ski trip?! Doesnt sound all bad.

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  • It is shaming on the profession that discrimination like this still occurs and that women are still forced to take a stand against it. It is shaming on law firms that do not step up and acknowledge their best and brightest (men as well as women nowadays) may well need to work flexibly and that does not affect their ability to bill well and do an outstanding job for their clients. We continue to hear stories like this, although as we know most settle before getting anywhere close to an open court. Having jumped ship from a dinosaur which treated me in a similar manner to Ms Tatum, albeit much further on in my career, I can report there are firms out there which do not have the same attitude and are open minded enough to appreciate good people in whatever guise they come. Ultimately the profession needs to change and firms that act in the way Travers are alleged to have done will fall behind client's and staff's needs. A brave stand by Ms Tatum which hopefully will not damage her long term prospects as it has for so many before her that took the same stance. Maybe one of the more positive "city partner" commentators will offer her a job?

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  • "In one case, a partner claimed in an email that a certain candidate was clearly keen on litigation because the trainee had been on the department’s skiiing trip, for which they have to pay a small amount"
    Not strictly relevant to the discussion, but I can't think of anything worse than using my annual leave and savings to go on a holiday with colleagues!

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  • As someone who qualified whilst pregnant at a large law firm, I can say that my experiences were generally very positive and the quality and quantity of work that I received didn't decline during that period (I had a fantastic (male) supervisor). I appreciate that all firms are different but from my own experiences, I never felt that I was at a disadvantage to my peers. I chose to leave that firm on qualification, so I will never know whether my circumstances would have been an issue but I genuinely believe that a reputation as a good trainee would have been sufficient to secure a job. However, on a slight tangent, I would have to say that trying to get back into law on anything less than a 5 day week is virtually impossible at my level of PQE if you aren't returning to the firm you have trained at. It is depressing to feel that you have worked hard to attain professional skills and a strong reputation as a good trainee, but find that the market does not accommodate a working mother. Obviously, I appreciate that firms do allow women (and men) to work part-time etc to help with their family commitments, but in terms of hiring new staff, I just don't think junior lawyers are attractive unless they are working full-time. It will be interesting to see how the case concludes.

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  • None of the accusations made at tribunal surprise me. What does truly astonish me is how much of the commentary in this chain, presumably contributed in the main by 'lawyers', pre-judges the outcome of the tribunal. Anonymous male parter of global law firm @ 3.26pm - I'm surprised you needed strategic discussions when you could have pre-judged their outcome so accurately. By all means criticise; but afford your profession some respect by doing so on the basis of discovered fact rather than supposition.

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  • Good for her. Many women are discriminated against in the city - sometimes to the extent of losing their jobs - and female trainees coming up to qualification are particularly vulnerable to this because of the often informal nature of the hiring process at this stage. But many women do not complain for fear of their reputation, lack of confidence or evidence, and/or fear of the financial drain which a legal complaint might involve. Glad this girl had the confidence to stand up.

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  • No-one seems to have noticed that the asssessment of her abilities as a lawyer was called into doubt. The evening standard reported that she had made major errors in drafting an SPA and she was not up to it. I don't condone any kind of discrimination but I don't think we should condemn until all the evidence is heard. i am a female client of this firm and i have very positive experience of the female associates and the coroporate partners. I have not heard negative comments from the associates with whom I have worked on various deals.

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