London firm adopts call-out for inappropriate language

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A London-headquartered corporate law firm has adopted a phrase for lawyers to tell their colleagues about bothersome language.

Travers Smith has launched the “#ThatsNotCool” campaign, which encourages all staff of the firm to say “that’s not cool” if they are uncomfortable about a colleague’s language. The launch of the call-out allows for staff to immediately confront colleagues about the issue, the firm says.

However, it won’t affect reporting methods in place, including the firm’s disciplinary and whistle-blowing procedures, said Chris Edwards, Travers Smith corporate social responsibility and diversity director. Overseeing the campaign with Edwards is partner Siân Keall.

The news comes as the legal industry is rocked by allegations of sexual assault that came with the worldwide rise of the #MeToo movement, which highlights sexual harassment, particularly in work settings.

Last week, a prominent New Zealand firm announced a firm-wide external review after allegations surfaced that older lawyers had years ago sexually assaulted student clerks.

Recently, a court in Munich jailed a former Magic Circle firm partner for sexually assaulting an intern in 2014.

Other big-name firms have made headlines after news of sexual assault. One censured a partner after an internal investigation. The firm has apologised for its handling of the matter, and has tapped another top law firm to investigate how it managed the situation.

Another firm placed a partner on leave as it investigated sexual misconduct allegations made against the lawyer, who joined the firm when his law firm was acquired by the global behemoth. The partner has since left the firm.


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