Inappropriate sexual behaviour // Poll

Your opinion matters! Let us know where you stand on this issue

By Todd Harrison

On Friday July 16th, 2010


pollAllegations about improper behaviour at law firms, or firm events, rarely become public. When they do, though, the results can be explosive.

Yesterday, the National Post’s Jim Middlemiss reported that Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark partner David Cowling is suing two former associates for defamation and intentional interference with economic relations. The junior lawyers, neither of whom are still with the firm, named Cowling in accusations of inappropriate sexual behaviour at a party hosted by the firm in January 2009.

Middlemiss quotes Blakes partner Paul Schabas, who is representing one of the defendants, as calling the lawsuit “an extraordinary situation and very distressing.” Schabas says the suit is unprecedented in his experience, but indeed, the public airing of such allegations themselves is seldom seen in the legal world; cases like former Law Society Treasurer George Hunter’s suspension for his affair with a client, and the conduct that led to Thomas Haythe’s departure from newly merged firm Tory Haythe (and prompted the firm to adopt its current moniker), are among the few recent examples.

But does that mean it virtually never happens, or that it’s a closely guarded secret? Take our latest poll (to the right of this post) and let us know your experience.