DLA Piper "Gashgate" partner to face disciplinary tribunal
04 March 2016
The DLA Piper partner who referred to women as troublesome "gash
" in an email to a client is being hauled before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
In 2014 Nick West was involved in a charming email exchange
with his client Richard Scudamore, CEO of the Premier League. In it West complains of the supposed unwanted attentions of an in-house lawyer - "have spent all day fending Edna off my graphite shaft. She is terribly relentless isn’t she?!
” He also tells Scudamore to “save the cash in case you find some gash
”. Ah, the benefits of a classical education*.
Scudamore's PA, a former law student, was appalled by the emails and leaked them to the press. But to the surprise of pretty much everyone DLA Piper stood by its man, arguing that "these were emails exchanged between friends and accessed without permission
". Hmmm, maybe, but they were also emails sent from a partner to a client from his work account, and it's clearly not unusual for such correspondence to be read by a PA.
Insiders told RollOnFriday that West made so much money for the firm that he was pretty much untouchable. But DLA Piper's supine reaction clearly failed to impress everyone, as someone grassed West up to the authorities. Last October RoF revealed that the SRA was investigating
whether the comments were appropriate, and yesterday it announced that West had a case to answer. He will be appear before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal at a date to be decided. The first case management conference will take place next month.
The SRA confirmed that the SDT has the power to strike West off, and a spokeswoman for DLA Piper said that the firm had no comment to make.
*Although it is unknown whether West has had any education at all. Because in a rare moment of modesty, DLA Piper has removed pretty much all his details from his online bio.