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Exclusive: City law firm partner resigns amid Christmas party grope claims

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Winckworth Sherwood lawyer describes his behaviour as “not acceptable” in internal apology to colleagues

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A City law firm partner accused of drunkenly groping female employees at a swanky Christmas bash has resigned.

Legal Cheek can exclusively reveal that John Burnand — who until today was a partner at City outfit Winckworth Sherwood — has quit his top job amid accusations of inappropriate behaviour at the firm’s Christmas party.

According to a source within the firm, Burnand, having drunk “far too much”, proceeded to “grope” several female employees before being “escorted out” of the building. The alleged incident took place last Thursday at Southbank’s trendy Skylon restaurant (pictured top).

Winckworth Sherwood refused to comment on the accusations but did confirm to Legal Cheek that Burnand had “resigned”.

In an attempt to make amends, Burnand — prior to his resignation — had posted a grovelling apology on Winckworth Sherwood’s intranet. On Monday, addressing all staff, the corporate finance specialist revealed how he had attended “a business development event prior to the party and had drunk more than [he] should on the day”.

Continuing, he said:

I am very sorry for offending so many by my conduct. I know that this is not acceptable behaviour and must never happen again. You may rest assured that it never will.

The former partner — offering staff the option of a further “personal apology” — added:

I hope that you will forgive my conduct on the night, on my assurance that there will be no recurrence and I hope that it did not spoil what I believe was otherwise a very good evening.

However it appears it was too little too late, with Winckworth Sherwood confirming in the past hour that Burnand — who had been at the City outfit less than a year — has left the firm.