24 Sep 2018

Russell McVeagh partner investigated over comments

7:42 pm on 24 September 2018

Law firm Russell McVeagh is investigating a complaint that a partner made inappropriate comments while attending a client event under the influence of alcohol.

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Photo: Supplied

Chair Malcolm Crotty confirmed a partner would not be at work while an independent investigation is underway.

He said everyone in the organisation knew what was expected of them and the firm would not tolerate any inappropriate behaviour.

A more detailed statement following the outcome of the investigation is expected within the next two weeks.

The firm was thrust into the limelight in February when it received three sexual assault complaints involving interns.

After the sexual misconduct allegations in 2015 and 2016, an independent review found the firm had a culture of excessive drinking.

But Law Society president Kathryn Beck said it seemed Russell McVeagh had learned from the past.

"We're hearing about a process that's in place, obviously we don't know where that's going to go, but even the fact that we're hearing about it is progress," she said.

"The statement I read said that we're going to get more detail down the track - it seems to me like they've drawn quite a bright line here and seem to be committing to make the change."

Ms Beck said by having clear expectations of behaviour and processes in place when they are breached, law firms were slowly beginning to make a culture change.

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