We already knew that Biglaw firms aren’t exactly the most friendly places for women. We already knew that some male lawyers are still quite miffed that women invaded their good old boys’ clubs. What we didn’t know was that some Biglaw firms would go so far as to essentially sign off on their partners’ extremely sexist views.
Which firm recently found out that one of its partners was involved in a sexist email scandal, and is doing absolutely nothing about it?
The firm in question is DLA Piper, which may want to consider opening a DLA NO MA’AM outpost. Earlier this month, one of the firm’s sports law partners in the London office was caught exchanging incredibly lewd, crude, and sexist emails with one of his clients, Richard Scudamore of the U.K. Premier League.
The Sunday Mirror first covered the story on May 10, without naming the lawyer involved. A little more than one week later, that lawyer has been named thanks to reporters over at the Am Law Daily. Say hello to Nicholas West, whose DLA Piper bio has been completely wiped clean of his credentials.
Here’s one of West’s darling email exchanges with Scudamore, leaked by the Sunday Mirror:
In one crude email exchange the lawyer bragged to Scudamore: “Have spent all day fending [Premier League planning and projects director Peta Bistany, aka “Edna”] off my graphite shaft. She is terribly relentless isn’t she?!”
The football chief and father of five who lives with his wife Catherine in a £1.8million home in Cirencester, Glos, replied: “Terribly! Must keep her off your shaft… graphite, sausage meat or flimsy sponge.” Yesterday a Premier League source said the pair claim to have been referring to golf clubs. The lawyer also told Scudamore to “save the cash in case you find some gash”.
DLA Piper launched an inquisition against West after catching wind of his involvement in this extravaganza of crude comments, but ultimately decided to do nothing. Here’s more information from Am Law Daily:
A DLA spokesman told [said] that while the firm had determined that West’s actions represented “a failure to meet the high professional standards in which we take pride,” no further action will be taken.
“We have accepted Mr. West’s assurances that these emails are not reflective of his beliefs and values and that there will be no recurrence of this behavior,” the firm said in a statement.
West released a statement of his own in which he “sincerely apologize[d]” for his actions and admitted that he had “let myself, my firm and its clients down.”
“I have an obligation to uphold the highest professional standards and I give my assurance that this will be the case going forward,” he added.
Here’s what seems to be a more accurate translation of West’s statement: “I let myself, my firm, and its clients down by getting caught. I have an obligation to uphold the highest professional standards, and because I am a lad with true honor, I give my assurance that this will be the case going forward because I won’t be so daft as to put how I really feel down in writing ever again. This is so f’ckn easy! Go United!”
It’s good to know one of the top law firms on the planet doesn’t want to discipline its partners for engaging in sexist behavior — but then again, perhaps DLA Piper feels that Nicholas West’s own embarrassment is good enough. Either way, this can’t be good for public (or pubic, amirite Nick?!) relations.