DLA Piper confirms incident referred to NZ Law Society

Incident was reported to HR and management. 

The Wellington branch of global firm DLA Piper has confirmed two “behavioural incidents” occurred last year, which were reported to the NZ Law Society.

Stuff has reported a source familiar with the case saying a partner had been under orders not to go to work functions unsupervised, before a party around Christmas last year.

“It is understood he went to that party, where an incident happened, after which he left the firm,” the report says.

DLA Piper says a staff member affected in each incident reported it to management and its HR team.

Country managing partner Martin Wiseman says in a statement: “Both incidents are being investigated by the NZLS Standards Committee. As a result, the firm is not able to discuss any other aspects of the incidents or the individuals involved. However, the person the subject of the NZLS process, left the firm before Christmas 2017.”

“The firm took immediate steps in both cases to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the staff members involved.” 

He would not comment further.

The NZ Law Society’s disciplinary processes have been under the gun following revelations of allegations of sexual assault and harassment toward interns at Russell McVeagh. That firm has recently launched an investigation into the behaviour, led by Dame Margaret Bazley.

NZ Law Society president Kathryn Beck says she cannot confirm or comment on any investigations before the standards committee.

Today, practising lawyers will be surveyed to gather information on workplace environments in the profession.

Colmar Brunton has been commissioned to survey more than 13,000 lawyers in a bid to tackle sexual and other harassment problems in the workplace.

“It is important to carry out some robust research into the behaviours lawyers have experienced in their workplaces,” Ms Beck says.

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