News Law firms Former Eversheds partner hits out at firm’s handling of discrimination issue By Margaret Taylor 12 February 2010 15:34 13 December 2015 17:24 Sign in or register to continue reading. It's FREE Sign in Email Password Keep me logged in Forgot your password? Not registered? It's FREE! Register now Register with The Lawyer Creighton Tolliver 12 February 2010 at 15:46 Oh dear, not again. Eversheds just can’t do anything right at the moment, can they? Reply Link Anonymous 12 February 2010 at 17:10 Confused – I think he left because he felt the whole thing has been whitewashed by the firm. The coldness is because, leaky or not, his departure indicates that at least some people in the firm thought the whole episode left a bad taste. Reply Link Anonymous 12 February 2010 at 17:16 Dutson may not be unusual amongst middle aged male partners in holding such distasteful views, but he is unusual in being so inept as to commit them to email. Far more depressing though is the fact that Eversheds has revealed its true colours in supporting him. Why did the firm react in this way, when it would have been so easy to take the opportunity to make a stand against this kind of lazy thinking and show some support to all their hard working and dedicated female lawyers? In a “people” business, the Eversheds brand has taking such a battering over the past year that you wonder whether it is beyond repair, at least in the mid-market and above. Reply Link Anonymous 12 February 2010 at 18:15 It is not surprising that this still goes on. Having been employed at BLP in the past… i had the same experience whereby when having a supposed “informal interview” for a paralegal role I was not only impromptly “interviewed” without the presence of a partner but I was also asked of my intentions to have children. Of course I made a complaint but being a contractual employee i was of course “let go”. The associates in question were of course “questioned” and of course they said i was lying! Its better to stay away from these firms all together.. that and it blatently shows that the old fashioned chauvenistic attitudes wtill remain! Reply Link Anonymous 12 February 2010 at 19:20 The question has been asked where else Shackleton has worked. At a minimum, this would include White & Case, Norton Rose, Simmons & Simmons, Baker McKenzie and Eversheds…. Reply Link Anonymous 12 February 2010 at 20:08 I’m surprised that Stuart Dutson is getting away so lightly. Eversheds exposes itself as a TTT (third tier toilet) that it is by dealing with this matter so unprofessionally. Sarcasm gets you no sympathy. Reply Link Dobbings 12 February 2010 at 21:54 The city does appears to still have an awful lot of male chauvinists employed within it’s precincts Reply Link expat jock 13 February 2010 at 00:15 I have little time for Eversheds but I can’t believe how gullible some people (incl The Lawyer) are about Shackleton. The guy’s a crap lawyer who’s bitter about being eased out, that’s what’s going on here. And nobody can draw accurate conclusions as to the meaning of one email without seeing the whole chain, anyone doing litigation work can tell you that. Just because bleedin Roll on Friday, The Lawyer and the Daily Mail characterise the email in question one way, doesn’t mean they’re right. Read the email and ignore what the hacks and a bitter moron like Shackleton have to say, it just doesn’t say what is alleged. As for Shackelton’s story, bloody hell, it’s so full of holes, even he would have to be embarrassed to put it forward in court. Reply Link Anonymous 13 February 2010 at 00:17 The earlier reference to the Court of Appeal case is interesting. The comments by Employment Judge Phillip Rostant about Eversheds’ conduct in ET proceedings against them in 2000 are also still interesting. On 29 September 2000 Employment Judge Phillip Rostant of the Brimingham Employment Tribunal made an award of costs against Eversheds on the grounds that their conduct had been unreasonable. Eversheds were representing themselves in their defence of claims of sex discrimination and unfair dismissal ( constructive dismissal) brought by a former employee. ( R.MacLaverty Case No. 2502689/99). Employment Judge Phillip Rostant found that Eversheds had been unreasonable for five months of a period during which they argued that the claims had been settled through ACAS. ( Eversheds had requested that there be a hearing to determine whether or not settlement had been reached. They withdrew from the hearing in the week before their application regarding alleged settlement was fixed to be heard.) ) On behalf of Eversheds, Audrey Williams had the conduct of the proceedings. In his Extended Reasons, contained in his Decision ( promulgation date 25 October 2000) Employment Judge Rostant stated that he was “deeply troubled by the manner in which the respondents have conducted themselves”. He specifically referred to Mrs. Williams and the fact that she had the conduct of the proceedings. The Applicant appealed against the Decision to the Employment Appeal Tribunal ,arguing that she should have been awarded all the costs claimed and arguing that Eversheds’ conduct had been unreasonable for the entire period in which they had claimed that the case had settled. The EOC were made aware of the Costs Decision in February 2001 when the Applicant applied to them for assistance with the main action and the EAT Appeal. The EOC ‘s legal committee considered the application and declined to help with either set of proceedings. (The EAT appeal was settled when Eversheds agreed to pay all the costs. EAT references 1491/00 and 0027/01) Audrey Williams is now the head of Discrimination law and Equality at Eversheds. Profiles of her make reference to the work that she undertook for the EOC , her membership of the former EOC’s legal experts committee and her work for ACAS. Reply Link Less confused now 13 February 2010 at 08:48 The comments seem to suggest then that the reason for Shackleton leaving had far less to do with the spat over emailed questions and employment rights, but more to do with something else. Now we’re getting somewhere. The leak issue may also be a bit of a red herring, as whoever did it, apparently did it after Shackleton’s departure. Reply Link Niamh 13 February 2010 at 13:50 There are two issues here which are getting lost. The first is the conduct of Mr Shackleton. Are we to understand that the leaking of these emails is a co-incidence unrelated to his resignation? A simple denial that he did not leak the emails tells us very little. Who did leak them and why? Are we also supposed to understand that these events in June are linked directly to his departure from Eversheds in January? Ie that he is taking a principled stand on this issue – some 6 months after they happened? This seems very unlikely. This has all the hallmarks of a smear campaign and an attempt to damage the career of another partner. The second issue is the involvement of The Lawyer in this matter. The stories on this issue have been one-sided and miss the obvious points. The quality of the journalism shown by the Lawyer is extremely poor indeed and it does not reflect well on this publication to lend itself to a smear campaign of this kind under the guise of discrimination. The statements about Mr Dutson are based upon the most limited material. We know that there were 2 leaked emails and an investigation by the firm, which exonerated Mr Dutson in the light of all the evidence. We have not been informed of all the evidence (and particularly the involvement of Mr Shackleton in the events of June and the reasons for his departure), Reply Link Anonymous 14 February 2010 at 16:51 …… and who cares! This seems to be a fight in the press. Why is it news worthy? Reply Link expat jock 15 February 2010 at 10:29 Niamh is spot on, the email leak is obviously just a weapon in a smear campaign, and ignoring the hacks’ unthinking spin, it looks like the target chosen here is the wrong one and the motives for the leak of the email deeply suspicious. But the shame of all this is that the issue of sexism amongst law firms is a real problem and it deserves much more attention than it gets. I’ve heard many comments from other male lawyers over the years, confirming that there’s a long way to go before there will be will fair or reasonable treatment of women lawyers, or for that matter, fathers who want to spend reasonable amounts of time with their kids. Reply Link Anonymous 15 February 2010 at 11:25 It’s very easy to have a go at the press in these situations, but I think that misses the point. The Lawyer has just directly reported what one of the central players in the story has said. If his views were ignored simply because of the supposed reputation he has among some former colleagues (a reputation which is not backed up by a single solid fact), then that would be irresponsible journalism. Likewise, if Eversheds came out with an open, honest and detailed description of their side of the story – rather than the glib, dismissive comment presented here – then they would not be getting the sort of kicking they have been Reply Link The Shed & The Shack 15 February 2010 at 12:11 Another firm the Shack worked for is Derain. And his CV says he also worked for a firm in Canada. That makes 7 firms at least. Reply Link expat jock 15 February 2010 at 12:18 @ anonymous at 11:25am: Journos, whether from one of our industry rags or something more substantial, should take at least some care to keep close to known facts. In this case, their interpretation of a single email amounts to a distortion of its meaning. The very fact that it has come into the public domain in the context of a conflict within the firm in question should only underline the need for the journalists in question to take care. But it seems the likes of RoF and The Lawyer are only too desperate to see mud being thrown, especially when it gets picked up by their bretheren at “proper” papers like The Mail, The Times, The Telegraph etc. Reply Link Anonymous 15 February 2010 at 23:17 Niamh is spot on. The Lawyer should explain itself. Reply Link Anonymous 16 February 2010 at 13:55 Whatever Shackleton did Eversheds should be at the focus here – let’s not forget that. I bet that a confidential investigation with a high level of protection offered to associates at Eversheds and other law firms would reveal many worst incidents.. It’s a shame that usually such incidents are buried deep inside the firms and kept quiet… so if Shackleton leaked that out at least he did one decent thing! And as to the working hours at Eversheds – a little bird is telling me that they can be as bad as at magic circle firms.. and I would like to know how many female associates actually have small children and work there in core practices? Reply Link Anonymous 17 February 2010 at 16:43 I cant get as excited about this as some. For all we know, the interviewee was employed by the firm in question. Also, having read the email in the press, it may equally be construed as a request for advice on how not to fall foul of discrimination legislation/practice. Get a grip everyone. Reply Link Anonymous 17 February 2010 at 17:07 the Lawyer has come out of this as a real rag/gossip mag/red top. Shackelton hates the last firm he left and is trying anything to get press to support him and his cause. He’ll say anything he thinks might assist his case and rags like the Lawyer will print anything they think might be read. Nice one Lawyer. Reply Link Name Email Cancel reply Threaded commenting powered by interconnect/it code.