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Robert Schon, the Simmons & Simmons partner suing his own firm for racial discrimination, is one of a tiny number of partners Simmons cannot remove from the equity, The Lawyer can reveal.
The majority of equity partners at Simmons can be de-equitised as a last resort if 75 per cent of the partnership vote to eject them. However, a small number of partners, including Schon, have entrenched rights.
The group, believed to have numbered seven partners originally, declined to accept a reduction in their rights of tenure when Simmons drafted its first formal partnership deed in 1998. Several have subsequently moved on to mainstream partnership terms or left the firm altogether, but Schon is not one of them.
It is understood that the anomaly arose because the partnership, under then senior partner Bill Knight, accepted a compromise deal under which the group retained its historical right of absolute tenure.
Other partners agreed to a term which allowed them to be removed with 100 per cent partner approval – this then was amended to 75 per cent in 2002. The compromise allowed Simmons to introduce widely supported reforms such as a more meritocratic pay system.
Schon, a tax partner, filed his claim against Simmons on Monday 19 July, in which he alleges anti-Semitism. As yet, no date has been set for the hearing. His solicitor Colin Harvey of Weightmans declined to comment. Schon was unavailable for comment.
Simmons declined to comment but has indicated it will be defending the claim.