By: 18 March 2024
Lawyer suspended after misconduct at firm event

Lawyer Frederick William Adams has been suspended from practice for three months. He faced disciplinary action following misconduct at a company event.

 

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) has suspended Adams for three months after he made inappropriate advances towards a colleague, who has maintained anonymity. This incident comes amidst broader challenges within Leeds-based Plexus Law, which entered administration in 2023 due to financial irregularities.

The firm was bought out by Axiom Ince in a move which saved 540 jobs and ensured the firm’s continuity. Axiom Ince has since been closed by the SRA following admissions from former managing partner, Pragnesh Modhwadia, regarding the firm’s financial situation. 

Adams had trained at and worked for Plexus since 2011, qualifying at the Manchester office in 2016. It was reported that Plexus’ managing director had warned staff about watching their behaviour ahead of the 2019 Christmas party.

 

In an email sent on 6 December 2019 she had emphasised;

“What you do outside work is capable of affecting the Firm’s reputation just as much as your own so, when attending social events … the Firm still expects you to hold yourself up to the highest standards of behaviour and conduct… Our priority is to ensure that everyone who chooses to attend events like this feels able to enjoy themselves and keep safe … In particular, we want to emphasise that excessive alcohol consumption will not be accepted as an excuse for unacceptable behaviour…”

 

After initially denying the allegations and submitting nine testimonials speaking to his character, Adams admitted fault, stating to the tribunal;

“I had initially denied the allegations on the basis that I have no recollection of these incidents and because such behaviour would be completely out of character for me.”

“I have since received the evidence provided to me by HR on 8 January 2020 and whilst I still have no recollection of these events and have not had sight of the CCTV footage referred to, I accept that the evidence does appear to support the allegations against me.”

The evidence has come as a complete shock to me, and I wish to take this opportunity to offer my sincerest apologies to Person A for any upset caused by my actions.”

Upon reflection of the evidence, I am unable to explain what possessed me to behave in this manner. I appear to have drunk more alcohol than I intended and realised that night and I apologise in addition to Person A and to the firm for this.”

 

The SDT commented following his tribunal hearing:

“Sexual misconduct of any nature is extremely serious such that due consideration should be given to the solicitors’ suitability to continue to practice. The tribunal assessed the nature of the sexual misconduct and in so doing determined that it was not at the highest end of the spectrum.”

A strike-off was not required but a suspension was “proportionate and appropriate to meet the overarching public interest”.

 

Image: Canva.
Emma Cockings
Emma is the content editor for Yorkshire Legal News. Emma is an experienced writer with a background in client-centric personal injury law for a major firm. She has attended and reported on numerous high-profile legal events in Yorkshire.