Escalating fees force Switalski to switch lawyers

Escalating fees force Switalski to switch lawyersFormer F&C Asset Management head of legal Gillian Switalski has sidelined Withers in favour of Blake Lapthorn Tarlo Lyons due to the spiralling legal costs of her £19m discrimination claim against her former employers.

Withers successfully represented Switalski in two tribunals for her claims of sexual discrimination, harassment and victimisation against F&C.

Elaine Aarons, partner at Withers’ employment team told The Lawyer: “Ms Switalski’s decision to change solicitors has been made entirely on the basis of costs, and is wholly amicable.

“We wish Ms Switalski all the best in her case and we are very proud of the results achieved to date.”

Blake Lapthorn Tarlo Lyons’ employment partner Howard Hymanson is to instruct Suzanne McKie of Devereux Chambers, who continues with the high-profile case.

The current hearing had originally been intended to fix the amount of compensation that Switalski would receive, with the claim increased to £19m after two previous tribunals ruled in her favour. But lawyers for F&C instead asked the tribunal to consider reviewing its original decision on the basis of new evidence.

Yesterday, the tribunal heard F&C’s lawyers claim Switalski faked a nervous breakdown to secure a larger payout. F&C’s lawyers said that while Switalski claimed that bullying from male colleagues had left her in such poor mental health that she was “unable to read a newspaper”, she was being interviewed for jobs at two rival City firms at about the same time.

McDermott Will & Emery partners David Dalgarno and Alison Weatherfield are representing F&C, instructing Monica Carss-Frisk QC of Blackstone.