Russell McVeagh's Board and Partners have reflected on the events of two years ago and the recent media coverage relating to those events. What happened in the summer of 2015/16 was completely unacceptable. The brave actions of the young women who spoke out, resulted in the Board and managing partners taking significant action to improve our workplace culture over the past 2 years and adopt a zero tolerance policy with regard to sexual harassment. These have resulted in a significant and positive cultural shift within the firm.
We believe the actions that we took immediately on becoming aware of these incidents were the right ones. Our ongoing approach to ensuring that no incidents of sexual harassment or bullying occur in our workplace is relentless and is supported by our partners and staff.
We need to understand if, how, and where we made errors so that we can apply those learnings in the future in our management practice and embed them in our culture.
The Board is in the process of finalising the appointment of a suitably qualified person, outside the legal community, to undertake an external review of Russell McVeagh (both offices) in relation to the incidents of sexual harassment in 2015/16. Our intention is that the review will be led by a senior, independent and well regarded leader with recognised skills in culture, diversity, and inclusion.
The scope of the review will include:
- all actions taken with respect to the specific incidents;
- current management practices and policies in relation to preventing sexual harassment and supporting those who wish to make complaints;
- the organisational culture of the firm.
The Reviewer will make any recommendations for change that they believe are appropriate and will have full access to all material and staff. Current staff will be expected to participate in the review. Former staff and summer clerks will also be invited to participate.
The final review recommendations will be shared with those parties to whom we have professional obligations which include the women involved, staff, clients, and the Law Society.
If you would like to discuss the above, please contact Gary McDiarmid, Malcolm Crotty or Pip Greenwood.