Story update: Berwin Leighton Paisner’s (BLP) head of international commercial dispute resolution Graham Shear is understood to be on the organising committee of the Presidents Club, The Lawyer has learned.
A full brochure of the evening names Shear as being on the committee responsible for making the event go ahead. Shear’s name appeared on the guest list but it was not confirmed whether he had attended. His name appeared alongside Jonathan Meller, Ricci Obertelli, Damian Soning, Harvey Soning and Joe Weston, wealthy individuals associated with the business and property worlds.
Lawyers from Kingsley Napley, Fried Frank and Berwin Leighton Paisner are understood to be among those who were on the guest list of the scandal-ridden male-only charity gala the Presidents Club.
BLP head of international commercial dispute resolution Graham Shear, Kingsley Napley consultant Francis Weaver and Fried Frank partner Dan Oates are understood to be among the names on the guest list.
Oates confirmed to The Lawyer that he was invited to the event but did not attend.
Shear and Weaver and their firms were approached for comment. It is not known whether Shear or Weaver attended the event.
Mishcon de Reya partner Nick Minkoff was the first lawyer to be named on the guest list yesterday evening, after the Guardian revealed a partial list of attendees.
The event has caused outrage over allegations of guests’ inappropriate behaviour to female hosts and inappropriate gifts.
The story came to light after the Financial Times carried out its own investigation into the charity gala, which has been running for 33 years, by sending in an undercover reporter.
Allegations of misconduct include guests groping their female hosts, putting their hands up hostesses’ skirts and inviting them to their hotel rooms after the event.
In light of the scandal, the Presidents Club has announced that it will close the event.
In a statement, Mishcon de Reya said: “The existence of male only events of the type operated by the Presidents Club are contrary to the core values of Mishcon de Reya, specifically that we always aim to foster a culture which thrives on diversity and respect for the individual. The firm endeavours in all its matters and dealings to be an inclusive environment where everyone can realise their full potential.
“The actions that took place that night were deplorable and should be condemned. They have no legitimate place in society.
“Nick Minkoff attended the evening as a guest in order to support good causes. He is embarrassed by being associated with this event and has confirmed that he never personally witnessed any of the reported behaviours but does not dispute them. He himself condemns any such behaviours.”