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Dentons suspends and disciplines trainees caught accessing firm’s confidential retention plans

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Four rookies on naughty step

Dentons has disciplined four trainees over allegations “concerning unauthorised access to confidential information” about the firm’s retention plans. The global giant said it was “deeply disappointed and saddened by this development”.

The rookies — who are understood to be in their final seats at the firm and in the process of applying for newly qualified (NQ) roles — were reportedly caught “snooping” on confidential HR documents, according to a firm insider. The source said the foursome “got called up to HR last Tuesday lunchtime and haven’t been allowed to come into work since”, according to weekly legal blog RollOnFriday.

A spokesperson for Dentons said: “While considering applications from trainees for positions as newly qualified solicitors, a number of conduct issues came to our attention concerning unauthorised access to confidential information relevant to that process.”

The 2018 Firms Most List

The outfit, which takes on around 30 trainees annually, confirmed all four trainees had been suspended while an investigation took place. The spokesperson continued:

“That investigation has now concluded and all individuals have been subject to disciplinary action. We expect our trainees to act with the highest standards of integrity and professionalism and are of course deeply disappointed and saddened by this development.”

Second-year trainees at Dentons are paid £44,000, rising to £70,000 on qualification, our Firms Most List shows. The City firm’s last trainee retention rate was 68%.

Retention and NQ postions aside, it has not been a great couple of weeks for the City’s young lawyers.

Last month, we reported that a trainee at Ince & Co had been shown the exit after failing to meet the firm’s “professional standards”. The shipping specialist stressed the decision “followed careful consideration”. This was quickly followed by a double training contact termination courtesy of Slaughter and May. Why? The aspiring lawyer twosome had failed to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at the first time of asking.

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33 Comments

Anonymous

Absolute bullshit if the documents were available on their document management system without protection. That’s the same as punishing someone for looking at a notice you pinned to a noticeboard.

The whole point of a searchable document management system is to allow helpful documents to be made available for search and review by the whole firm (unless a level of protection is applied to the specific file). Any and all fault here lies with the person who saved a sensitive document to the DMS without adding some protection.

(112)(5)

Not in HR

HR to blame – no question!

(41)(1)

Clearly Working Hard

Er, no. Confidential documents are confidential. Having systems to stop people looking at things is sensible, but professional people should be able to restrain themselves from doing things they know they shouldn’t do. Duh…

(20)(52)

Critical Thinker

Document X is confidential vis-a-vis person Y if and only if document x was shared in confidence with someone or a class of people (person/s Z) excluding person Y.

Here, document X was shared with person Y (and such sharing, given the carelessness with which it was done, can hardly even be said to have been done in confidence).

Thus, document X is not confidential, on an accurate construction of that term, as regards person Y. QED.

(23)(9)

Anonymous

In order for something to be confidential, it must “have the necessary quality of confidence about it” which then gives rise to “an obligation of confidence” in respect of the information contained therein.

If this document is confidential in that it is only suppose to be used and available to HR and partners, then the fact that it was put on a DMS or otherwise made available to a much wider class of people means that the document in question lost any quality of confidence.

Dentons pissing in the wind on this one.

(33)(3)

Anonymous

You’re on the money with this one, but it’ll still likely mean the four trainees involved will get the boot come qualification time.

Dentons being rotten as usual.

(15)(0)

Anonymous

Are you at Freshfields?

(0)(3)

Anonymous

An exclusive to RollOnFriday.com…

Well done guys

(28)(1)

Anonymous

ROFL

(3)(2)

Anonymous

Ah hello there RollOnFriday article, I was long expecting you.

TOP work Tommy – shame it took you until almost 1pm to tug this one out.

(35)(1)

Anonymous

Cheers Jamie 👍🏻

(1)(0)

Tommy

Pood me pants with glee!

(1)(0)

Legal Recruiter

Not a surprise if it was readily available. We are in late May and people don’t know what the plans are, and need to start looking around. Retention looks down this year in London, so it’s little wonder that they were curious.

(21)(0)

Anonymous

What’s your take on this as a legal recruiter? Is the market getting progressively tighter as Brexit approaches?

(0)(1)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(1)(1)

TheAcresOfFour

The current NQ rate is £70k Tom in London.

Check Chambers Student, True Picture for Dentons, Firm Profile tab.

Also, rates are under-review atm and likely to go up for trainees.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

“£70k NQ”

Hefty.

(5)(1)

Anonymous

That’s fuck all – I make 70 bags of sand in the time it takes me to have a shit.

(3)(4)

Anonymous

Think you may want to review your procurement policy if bags of sand are costing you £1k each.

(11)(1)

Thomas Connelly

Thanks, I have updated the article.

(5)(4)

Anonymous

Trouser snake

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Lol showing the attention to detail that’ll stand him in good steed at the bar

(0)(1)

Irony level - High

*stead

(3)(0)

TheAcresOfFour

Separately, the cynical part of me thinks this seems like an excellent pretext to bin some prospective NQs in order to shore up the retention rates.

Agree with others if you leave such a document on a DMS unsecured, you can’t be surprised when people read it.

(18)(0)

Anonymous

Hearing Dentons HR talk about integrity after the Bina Hale case is like listening to Hitler talk about the virtues of peaceful co-existence with all mankind.

(18)(0)
(2)(0)

Anonymous

After a thorough investigation by HR, it was found that HR were completely blameless.

(42)(0)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

This was a missed opportunity for an anonymous poll – how many trainees (from all firms) try finding out qualification results by doing this every year?

I would think that quite a few have a speculative search of the firm’s documents…

(9)(0)

Oopsy

Maybe if the hiring process had already been completed trainees wouldn’t contemplate doing this to start applying elsewhere or know they’re being kept on.

These four are definitely set for Irwin’s…

(1)(1)

Anonymous

The picture used by RollOnFriday was much better

(1)(0)

Anonymous

What a joke. They’ll be better off going elsewhere.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Clearly inappropriate to look at confidential HR information however if the document is available from their computer and has not been secured by HR then some blame lies with HR also. In reality the law firm cannot oust the trainees for this but these young lawyers will have to move on once qualified. Let’s hope that their names stay secret so this doesn’t affect their entire careers.

(2)(0)

Comments are closed.

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