SJ Berwin partner slammed by Tories

SJ Berwin partner Jonathan Djanogly, Conservative MP for Huntingdon, has been criticised for using the firm’s trainees for parliamentary research work.


<a class=SJ Berwin partner slammed by Tories” />SJ Berwin partner Jonathan Djanogly, who is Conservative MP for Huntingdon, has been criticised by his Westminster opponents after using the firm’s trainees for parliamentary research work.

An Electoral Commission investigation found that Djanogly failed to declare that he had received around £155,000 of donations in trainee time from the firm.

While the commission has no power to reprimand him, and while Djanogly contacted the commission voluntarily to ask whether he should make a declaration, the corporate finance partner has come under fire from the Labour party.

His political opponents criticised him for failing to declare the trainees’ work as a donation in kind.

In the Parliamentary register Djanogly said: “From time to time SJ Berwin seconds a trainee solicitor to carry out research for me.”

SJ Berwin has operated a three-month trainee secondment to parliament since 2003, with secondees carrying out work for shadow solicitor general Djanogly.

Djanogly told TheLawyer.com that, after he contacted the commission, it said it would have to carry out an investigation on the late registration.

Despite the row, the parliamentary seat is a highly popular option for SJ Berwin trainees and is usually over subscribed.

Newly qualified private equity funds solicitor John Atherton did his last half-seat with Djanogly. “In a lot of ways I quite miss it,” he said. “I’m quite jealous of the trainee who’s there at the moment with all the financial work and debates being held about bolstering the economy.”