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Shearman & Sterling has sacked an associate after a vacation student claimed he sexually harassed her in a West End strip club.
Shearman & Sterling has sacked one of its associates after a vacation student claimed that he sexually harassed her after taking her to a West End strip club.
Shearmans has apologised to the student after conducting an internal investigation which resulted in the sacking of the associate, but the firm denies liability for the alleged harrassment.
In a letter to the vacation student dated 1 August, the firm wrote: “We apologise for the experience that you had at Shearman & Sterling and wish you well […]
“Although we accept that the conduct displayed by the associate in taking you to The Windmill Club was deeply inappropriate, it was not a Shearman & Sterling organised event and we therefore accept no liability for what may have occurred.”
The vacation student alleged that she was taken to a strip club on Friday 18 July by the Shearman associate after drinks in the Light Bar, Liverpool St, which is close to Shearman’s London office.
A spokesman for the firm confirmed that at least one partner was present at these drinks.
It is understood that at around 10pm, the group moved on to the Chinawhite club in Piccadilly, where a guest list reservation had been made.
However, the associate and the vacation student separated from the group and went to the Windmill strip club in Soho.
The vacation student claimed that she did not realise she was entering a strip club and that she told the associate that she should leave, but that he responded that he had already paid for the entrance fee and they should stay a while longer.
The firm confirmed that the associate paid for the entrance fee to the strip club on the firm’s credit card.
“This guy’s an associate and I’m an intern,” the vacation student told The Lawyer, “I didn’t want to p*ss him off.”
The associate is alleged to have begun making sexually suggestive remarks and to have touched her inappropriately.
The vacation student said that she left the club in tears and hired a taxi home shortly afterwards. She filed a complaint with Shearman’s HR department the week after, on 24 July, because she said that she wanted to finish the last week of her vacation placement before an internal investigation began.
A Shearman & Sterling statement said: “A student on our UK summer vacation scheme lodged a complaint regarding the conduct of one of the firm’s associates during an informal social evening outside the offices.
“Shearman & Sterling takes such matters very seriously and, following a full investigation in accordance with internal disciplinary procedures, the associate has now left the firm.”
The vacation student has accepted a training contract at another firm and is considering the options that are open to her in pursuing this matter.
The former associate could not be reached for comment.