Pinsent Masons faces lawsuit following trainee assault

A former Pinsent Masons trainee who left after an alleged assault by a colleague in 2011 is mulling bringing a civil action against his old firm.

Ross Knight, who began his traineeship at Pinsent Masons in August 2009, was on a night out with firm solicitor Edward Lowdell last year when Lowdell allegedly attacked him by putting him in a headlock and repeatedly punching him on the head. Both lawyers left Pinsent Masons later that year.

Knight’s solicitor, EMW consultant Trevor Jenkin, said that he was now considering the circumstances surrounding Knight’s departure. One possibility is that Knight could bring a civil action against his old firm.

Lowdell faces jail after pleading guilty to actual bodily harm at Blackfriars Crown Court on 1 August. He initially denied the charges against him and said he was acting in self defence, but yesterday changed his plea to guilty, according to the Daily Mail. Reports state that jurors were shown CCTV footage of the alleged attack. Lowdell will be sentenced tomorrow.

On the night of the attack, 25 March 2011, Lowdell and Knight were at an office party celebrating Pinsent Masons’ move to new headquarters in London’s Crown Place. The pair left the party with others at 11pm to carry on drinking at a pub.

After finishing at the pub, while walking through Hatton Garden, Lowdell put Knight into a headlock and punched him repeatedly. Police and ambulance services were called to the incident, which took place at around 1:40am, with Knight requiring hospital treatment for his injuries.

Pinsent Masons carried out an internal investigation of the incident, but Lowdell resigned from the firm before it was completed. Knight completed his training contract but left the firm in August 2011 and now works as a solicitor at a construction company. Lowdell has reportedly said that he intends to teach English abroad if he is spared jail.

In a statement, a spokesman for Pinsent Masons said that it was too early to comment on any possible civil action against the firm, but added: “Pinsent Masons prides itself on the professional conduct of its staff, and this was an isolated incident that occurred in March 2011. A thorough internal investigation into the matter was conducted at the time, and subsequently both staff members left the firm.”