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Drunk trainee solicitor fined for groping colleagues at work Christmas party

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Rookie offered one female co-worker a drink, saying he had ‘roofied it’

A former trainee solicitor who was sacked after getting too drunk at a work Christmas party has reached a settlement with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Oliver Conway admitted behaving inappropriately and in breach of professional conduct rules after groping two colleagues in a nightclub after the event.

Conway was a trainee at national law firm Ashfords in December 2019, when his team went out for a Christmas meal after work. Some of the team went on to a bar and then a nightclub afterwards.

The agreed outcome states that Conway “had consumed a large volume of alcoholic beverages and was inebriated”. While in the club, he offered one colleague a drink saying that he “had roofied it” — a common generic slang term to describe ‘date-rape drugs’ — and then touched her on the bottom.

There was no suggestion that Conway spiked anyone’s drink.

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Later in the evening, the former trainee squeezed another woman’s bottom, resulting in her pushing him away and telling him “don’t do that”. He also “repeatedly pulled [her] by the arm and put his hands around her waist and hips”, according to the regulatory decision.

Ashfords dismissed him following an internal investigation and Conway reported himself to the SRA.

The now ex-trainee told the regulator that he had no memory of the night in question but accepted that he must have behaved in the way described. He agreed to a fine of £2,000.

The SRA commented that “Mr Conway’s behaviour towards his two colleagues amounted to a breach of his professional obligations and his own personal moral code”. A fine rather than a warning was necessary given the “serious breach of our standards or requirements”.

Ashfords has been approached for comment.

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