May 10, 2018 / 2:32 PM / 9 months ago

London lawyer fired by Quinn Emanuel over "inappropriate behaviour"

LONDON, May 10 (Reuters) - A senior London lawyer, whose high-profile clients included late Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, has been sacked by litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan without compensation after an investigation into his conduct.

Quinn Emanuel said on Thursday that two members of staff had made “allegations of inappropriate behaviour” against Mark Hastings in February. It said it first suspended the partner and commissioned Alison Levitt, a former legal adviser to England’s Director of Public Prosecutions, to conduct an investigation.

“We can confirm that the outcome of that process was that Mr Hastings was expelled from the firm with immediate effect and without compensation,” the law firm said in a statement.

“Quinn Emanuel takes allegations of the nature made against Mr Hastings extremely seriously,” it said. “We will not tolerate abusive behaviour from anyone within the firm.”

Hastings, who was fired on Tuesday, did not respond to attempts to reach him for comment via LinkedIn.

The law firm declined to comment further, saying it respected the complainants’ rights to privacy. However, it said it had not and would not seek any form of non-disclosure agreement from those who reported him.

London law firms have to report serious misconduct to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), which regulates the profession. A spokesman said the watchdog had received a report and was assessing whether further steps needed to be taken.

“Whether we need to take that forward into anything else or whether appropriate steps have already been taken is a decision that comes further down the line,” a spokesman said.

SRA actions range from sending a letter to a rebuke or fine. Serious cases can be referred to the independent Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, which has the power to impose unlimited fines, suspend or strike off lawyers.

Hastings first built his legal career at Herbert Smith Freehills before moving to rival Addleshaw Goddard in 2005, where he was made partner and won a reputation as a civil fraud litigator. He joined Quinn Emanuel in March 2017, according to his LinkedIn page.

$1 = 0.7394 pounds Reporting by Kirstin Ridley Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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