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‘How kluntilicious ’: DLA Piper partner’s embarrassing SDT ruling published online

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Nick West fined £15,000 after exchanging sexist emails with a client

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A Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) judgment has revealed the full extent of the sexist email exchanges between a partner at DLA Piper and a high profile client.

Nick West — a sports and media law specialist at the corporate outfit’s London office — was fined £15,000 last month after he accepted emails sent between himself and a senior staff member at the Premier League had breached regulatory principles.

The SDT has finally published its finding against West in full, and has revealed the exact contents of the — now infamous — emails.

According to the report, West responded to an email in February 2012 with:

How kluntilicious (and indeed how Kluntish of you to attribute your own preferences to me). I fear she will now prove to be a terrible anti-klimax.

In response to another email concerning the possible recruitment of a female member of staff, West wrote:

How Klunticicious to hear you in such stonkingly Kluntish form… If she is interested in the dangle of your dong.

In a further email exchange in August 2013, West wrote to two people — referred to only as A and C in the judgment — stating:

Nobody has more experience in foetus shopping than the stupendously fertile [job title] so I will leave it to him to advise you on such matters.

Two days later A messaged West, writing:

I had a girlfriend once called double decker… happy for you to play upstairs, but her dad got angry if you went below.

The report states the DLA Piper lawyer, in a further email exchange, told his client to “save your cash in case you find some gash.”

Accepting the emails were in breach of Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) rules, West told the tribunal last month that the line between client and friend had clearly become “blurred”.

In a somewhat bizarre twist to the story, the experienced lawyer claimed the use of the word “klunt” — and variations of it — was actually a reference to a character in Flanimals, a children’s book by comedian Ricky Gervais.

Describing the content of the emails as “despicable”, the SDT suggested that an experienced solicitor would have exercised caution before continuing to engage in such a manner.

Last month West was fined £15,000 and slapped with a £12,000 costs order.

Read the judgment in full below:

36 Comments

Kluntifella

Private banter between men is now actually an offence. Roll on Trump.

(29)(14)

Dat dere Trumpenqualität

Hear hear, thank God he’s gonna rip Crooked Shillary a new one come November.

#trumptrain

(13)(7)

Allahu chocolatebar

It’s time to make America great again!

#trumppence2016 #stopkillaryklinton

(3)(8)

Interloper

When it’s this cringingly bad, it bloody well should be…

(6)(0)

Interloper

PS the only thing I’d roll on Trump would be large and steam-powered…

(8)(1)

Quo Vadis

Another case where one side has a barrister representing them, and the other does not. How fair can an arrangement like that ever be?

(2)(5)

Anonymous

He can pay for whatever legal representation he wants can’t he? Are you trying to insinuate that he had inadequate legal representation because he was represented by a solicitor? Pretty idiotic but am guessing you’re a BPTC student or something, with zero professional experience. Anyway, did you read the emails? He could have had Lord Neuberger representing him and he wouldn’t have got off.

(11)(1)

Quo Vadis

There are many reasons why Nick West decided not to instruct counsel. Perhaps his instructing solicitors thought the case didn’t need it. Perhaps he has 15 ex-wives and simply couldn’t afford it. My point is, if there really was no benefit to instructing counsel, the Bar would die out overnight. (I don’t believe, by the way, in the law student Top Trumps bollocks that a QC is always better than junior counsel, who is always better than a solicitor, and so on.) However, it certainly *looks* bad when the regulatory bodies instruct excellent counsel and solicitors for tribunal hearings, given that their opponents (by virtue of their predicament) often find it difficult to afford representation at all. This was recently the case with Lord Harley, who had no representation whatsoever at the SDT – a travesty. Without proper consideration being given to equality of arms at the start of each and every proceedings, we will never know whether the sides were evenly matched, or whether the judgment was fair. (As for ‘professional experience’ – I usually make it more than a third of the way through my submissions before throwing insults around!)

(4)(3)

Quo Vadis

Apologies, that should read “There may be many reasons…”. 1/10 must try harder.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

He admitted all the charges…

(1)(0)

Anonymous

FFS, Lawyers should know not to put anything remotely prejudicial in writing……

(3)(0)

Anonymous

…unless caveating it ‘without prejudice save as to banter’.

(45)(0)

Anonymous

*applauds*

(2)(0)

Not Amused

The SDT described this as “despicable”? What a bunch of hysterical weirdos they must be.

Child abuse is despicable. Rape is despicable. Premeditated murder of an innocent is despicable. What nonsense.

(20)(3)

Bantz & Co Ltd.

What a Bantersaurus Rex! The SRA is a bunch of slack-jawed, emasculated fruitcakes to slap a fine on such a top lad.

Political correctness gone batshit insane.

(13)(6)

Anonymous

This is going to be unpopular, but I actually feel sorry for the man. I understand that it was from his work email address and to a client, but clearly it was an email exchange between friends on which presumably no one else was copied.

I understand the opinions expressed and terms used in the email are unsavoury and I do not for one moment agree with the contents, but I doubt anyone could hold their hands up and say that nothing they have ever said in an email or other online message, if it got out, would be embarrassing and detrimental to their career.

I think this was a gross breach of confidence of whoever leaked the emails, leaving the SRA no choice but to act.

(16)(2)

Dr Fudgepipe

Whoever leaked the emails was a total shit bloke. Such a snitch.

(5)(2)

Anonymous

Snitches get left in ditches

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Probably his secretary, classic gash

(6)(5)

Nick 'Dr Bantah' West

I should have given her my graphite shaft.

(2)(5)

Anonymous

“his secretary, classic gash” ….Who we will for the purposes of this misogynistic drivel assume to be female

(1)(3)

alphabantz

Betacuck spotted.

(1)(4)

Anonymous

Do you work in a law firm? How many secretaries are men?

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Tbf if you’re stupid enough to use your work email to talk like that then you deserve what you get… It’s business not banter…

(2)(0)

Anonymous

I pity the people you work with

(0)(0)

Anon and Anon

And his lawyer was called ‘CAD’man. Superb.

(0)(0)

Just Anonymous

With considerable reluctance, I soften my stance a little on this issue. I accept West did do something wrong: namely, copying his assistant into at least one of the emails [21]. She shouldn’t have had to deal with such material in the workplace. For that, West was at fault.

The social crime West is being punished for, however, clearly extends far beyond this narrow issue. It is patently obvious from the SDT’s decision that, amongst other things, he is being punished for the contents of the emails themselves. This is clearly apparent from [50]:

“The Tribunal accepted that this had been a … lesson for the Respondent and indeed for the profession not to engage in inappropriate and offensive correspondence particularly
when using business email addresses in the course of their work.”

The use of ‘particularly’ is significant. It denotes the fact these were sent from ‘business email addresses in the course of work’ as an aggravating factor, but the clear message is that these messages would still have been wrong had they been sent from a personal email address completely unconnected with work.

I say however that, in such circumstances, they would not have been wrong. In private, if both parties are consenting to what’s being said (as was clearly the case here) people should have the absolute right to be as obnoxious/offensive/insulting as they wish about anything or anyone. And on this particular issue, if you’re going to censure everyone who’s engaged in sex related gossip or banter, the only people left unpunished would be celibate priests and prepubescent children.

(10)(0)

Anonymous

Totally agree about the work email bit, completely irresponsible but tbh don’t agree with the rest. Obviously plenty of people talk like this in private but that doesn’t make it any better. Condoning this type of behaivour in anyway would be promoting sexism and we don’t want to be going backwards now do we. Just because it’s private doesn’t make it right.

(2)(3)

Nick 'Dr Bantah' West

Save some cash in case you find some gash.

Save some quid in case you dip your squid.

Save some notes in case you shoot thick ropes.

(2)(2)

Big graphite shaft

Save some bills to get some thrills

Save some coin in case you get some loin.

Save some penny in case you get some fanny.

(0)(1)

Westie

Snitches get stitches

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Could that Lady Bonham Carter be described as “kluntilicious”?

(0)(1)

Anonymous

This story and the resultant banter ois comments are what LC was born for. Pity the 99% of the rest of its content is total horseshit

(1)(4)

Anonymous

*banterous

(0)(0)

Laddy Lad Lad

Hear hear. The LC comments section is where the real magic takes place – the tosh articles are just an intro to the bantz below.

(2)(2)

Lord Lyle of Misogynistic Moments.

So the SRA are now the word police? Or maybe misogyny police?
“And then with malice aforethought the prisoner did turn to his accomplice and referred to the victim as a “Gash” M’lud”

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.