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    Did anyone see this?

    http://www.legalcheek.com/2015/01/cl...-rant-youtube/

    A Clifford Chance trainee uploaded a 21 minute video to youtube with an Al Qaeda intro, and started ranting about "kuffars" and the superiority of Muslims over non-Muslims.

    CC opted not to dismiss him for bringing the firm into disrepute, though I do wonder how colleagues and clients would feel knowing a particular trainee holds them in utter contempt
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    Absolutely. It was in the Telegraph, Evening Standard, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Independent...

    Clifford Chance have been badly damaged by this. If I was deciding between TC offers I wouldn't pick a firm that was stupid enough to think its acceptable to stick by a chap like that. His remarks are probably a violation of the SRA code as well.
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    First post but here it goes: CC will be hurt by this & their clients will hate this. I'm a first yr trainee at a peer firm. But in fairness they've always been seen by the market as the least selective/elite of the big 4 MC firms. A few of my friends who were lucky enough to have multiple MC offers had CC down as their backup option. Seems like a good choice now.
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    1) trainees are over protected by the training contract itself. It isn't easy to get rid of someone part way through a TC even if they do something stupid. I bet there are very few trainees who have had their TCs terminated despite doing very stupid things that haven't led to criminal charges.

    2) no one knows the full story. It's difficult to understand what's going on between the person in question and CCs HR team without having the full picture. The legal press and comments that follow it are making an awful lot of dangerous assumptions.

    3) if there are any major repercussions for this situation, they could easily be picked up on other similar situations and asked why they haven't treated other employees in the same way. Anyone who has ever said anything slightly offensive to someone else or put the firm's name into question (I bet there are a fair number of these people at most firms) may also be looked at. It's only because this situation is so public. I've lost count how many times I have heard people say something that could be deemed offensive (racially/sexually/gender related) and yet they were never disciplined despite it causing offence to people who complaints. This could open a can of worms.

    4) in some ways the easiest way to deal with something like this is to let them sit out the rest of their TC. It's a fixed term contract, they can choose whether to re-employ the individual at the end of it or not. The chances of any legal implication are much lower by letting it run until the TC comes to an end.


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    For a change I agree with J-SP. There are too many unknown variables in this mess for any of us to guess what is happening in the background, or what will be the eventual fallout from this.

    (Original post by J-SP)
    I've lost count how many times I have heard people say something that could be deemed offensive (racially/sexually/gender related) and yet they were never disciplined despite it causing offence to people who complaints.
    100% agree with this. I am surprised by the comments I hear from people who really should know better, in particular their attitudes to women.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    4) in some ways the easiest way to deal with something like this is to let them sit out the rest of their TC. It's a fixed term contract, they can choose whether to re-employ the individual at the end of it or not. The chances of any legal implication are much lower by letting it run until the TC comes to an end.


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    I don't know the ins and outs of training contracts, but certainly on the basis of what you've said about trainees being protected this does seem to be the best approach to avoid legal implications. The last thing Clifford Chance would want is to sack this trainee and then have him bring employment or county court proceedings against them for breach of contract.

    I am sure there are provisions within training contracts that would allow a firm to terminate them if a trainee commits an act of gross misconduct. The problem is that whilst so many people are suggesting that he should be sacked, I would have serious doubts about whether or not this actually is gross misconduct. It is certainly possible that a Tribunal would find that a decision to dismiss in this situation was reasonable, but the risk of the Tribunal finding that such a decision was unreasonable is high enough that the smarter decision would seem to be to leave it alone and let him see his training contract out.
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    (Original post by Crazy Jamie)
    I don't know the ins and outs of training contracts, but certainly on the basis of what you've said about trainees being protected this does seem to be the best approach to avoid legal implications. The last thing Clifford Chance would want is to sack this trainee and then have him bring employment or county court proceedings against them for breach of contract.

    I am sure there are provisions within training contracts that would allow a firm to terminate them if a trainee commits an act of gross misconduct. The problem is that whilst so many people are suggesting that he should be sacked, I would have serious doubts about whether or not this actually is gross misconduct. It is certainly possible that a Tribunal would find that a decision to dismiss in this situation was reasonable, but the risk of the Tribunal finding that such a decision was unreasonable is high enough that the smarter decision would seem to be to leave it alone and let him see his training contract out.
    I think there potentially could be an argument for racial discrimination if they did terminate the TC. It isn't helped by the fact the firm has had fairly recent situations where they haven't sacked people for saying something publicly that could be seen as offensive.


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    (Original post by J-SP)
    I think there potentially could be an argument for racial discrimination if they did terminate the TC. It isn't helped by the fact the firm has had fairly recent situations where they haven't sacked people for saying something publicly that could be seen as offensive.


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    To be honest, I think that would be a difficult argument to run. These Islamist rants are a religious issue and have nothing to do with race. Moreover, the right to express one's religious views is inherently qualified and has never been absolute.

    It doesn't usually run to insulting others of a different faith or none, or run to justifying extremist acts and murder. What's probably most worrying is that according to the Telegraph the trainee used an official anthem found in Al Qaeda and IS videos.

    The truth is that a law firm has a very wide discretion to sack people, including lawyers, for doing things publicly that 'bring the firm into disrepute'. I suspect he'll be shuffled off quietly.

    Having watched the whole 21 minute video, I think the awkward thing for Clifford Chance is that they tried to initially justify these remarks by talking about the need for diversity, rather than condemning what was a very unpleasant, hate filled diatribe.
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    (Original post by citytctrainee)
    To be honest, I think that would be a difficult argument to run. These Islamist rants are a religious issue and have nothing to do with race. Moreover, the right to express one's religious views is inherently qualified and has never been absolute.

    It doesn't usually run to insulting others of a different faith or none, or run to justifying extremist acts and murder. What's probably most worrying is that according to the Telegraph the trainee used an official anthem found in Al Qaeda and IS videos.

    The truth is that a law firm has a very wide discretion to sack people, including lawyers, for doing things publicly that 'bring the firm into disrepute'. I suspect he'll be shuffled off quietly.

    Having watched the whole 21 minute video, I think the awkward thing for Clifford Chance is that they tried to initially justify these remarks by talking about the need for diversity, rather than condemning what was a very unpleasant, hate filled diatribe.
    I probably used the wrong terminology. What I meant was it could be seen as discrimination under the equality act.

    I haven't seen the whole video (mainly because it's so long) so I cannot really comment on what was said. All I know is it won't be as easy to terminate his contract as everyone thinks it will be, even if they wanted to do that.


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    I think any kind of discrimination argument will be hard to run. I think you're right that the firm will probably let him finish his TC. Far easier not to offer him an NQ position. Either way his career is city law is probably irreparably damaged.
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    There is also the international aspect of CC's business to consider; it is going to be equally as important for CC to be thinking about how their sacking their trainee for gross misconduct - theoretically - for speaking passionately about his views in the midst of a exceptionally fraught 'free speech'/terror attack' post-Charlie landscape is going to gown down in the ME territories. The thing is a hot patootie of a particular perfect storm.

    If he'd done it prior to the whole Charlie Hebdo thing, it would be quite a different matter, but post - sheesh.

    If the trainee has factored in the impossible position that CC would have been put in by his You Tube outing, then he is cleverer perhaps than he might first appear - perhaps they should keep him. He could be an asset somewhere in their calculations.

    If it was me, I would leave it. Like J-SP, I didn't watch the whole thing, just 4 minutes - it felt like a long 21 mins
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    (Original post by happyinthehaze)
    There is also the international aspect of CC's business to consider; it is going to be equally as important for CC to be thinking about how their sacking their trainee for gross misconduct - theoretically - for speaking passionately about his views in the midst of a exceptionally fraught 'free speech'/terror attack' post-Charlie landscape is going to gown down in the ME territories. The thing is a hot patootie of a particular perfect storm.

    If he'd done it prior to the whole Charlie Hebdo thing, it would be quite a different matter, but post - sheesh.

    If the trainee has factored in the impossible position that CC would have been put in by his You Tube outing, then he is cleverer perhaps than he might first appear - perhaps they should keep him. He could be an asset somewhere in their calculations.

    If it was me, I would leave it. Like J-SP, I didn't watch the whole thing, just 4 minutes - it felt like a long 21 mins
    I'd recommend watching it. There's a big difference between someone expressing a passionate view and the hate filled diatribe that the trainee posted on youtube. I think the vast majority of Muslims would find it hard to support the views he espoused. I very much doubt he'll be with CC, or in city law, much longer.
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    CC will probably want to avoid any further publicity, just keep the kid locked away in the office and keep an eye on him. Then once everybody has forgotten, pay him off on the quiet and give him the boot.

    Anyway, typical lawyer, can't speak plainly.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Anyone who has ever said anything slightly offensive to someone else or put the firm's name into question (I bet there are a fair number of these people at most firms) may also be looked at.
    Well, the most comparable situation I can think of was when that CC trainee said on a YT video, "[My job is to] **** people over for money". He was dismissed

    It's only because this situation is so public. I've lost count how many times I have heard people say something that could be deemed offensive (racially/sexually/gender related) and yet they were never disciplined
    I think you just put your finger on it. It's because the situation is so public. The fact this trainee would make such a video suggests he has very poor judgment and is quite immature, something I would expect CC clients would not be comfortable about if the trainee was handling sensitive business information.

    I mean, what if CC was representing an Israeli company in the arms business? Could this trainee be trusted to proceed professionally, or be trusted not to leak sensitive information?

    4) in some ways the easiest way to deal with something like this is to let them sit out the rest of their TC. It's a fixed term contract, they can choose whether to re-employ the individual at the end of it or not
    Indeed. I have no doubt he's ****ed his career and may find it hard to pick up an associate position at a top firm.
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    (Original post by happyinthehaze)
    There is also the international aspect of CC's business to consider; it is going to be equally as important for CC to be thinking about how their sacking their trainee for gross misconduct - theoretically - for speaking passionately about his views in the midst of a exceptionally fraught 'free speech'/terror attack' post-Charlie landscape is going to gown down in the ME territories
    I doubt their Middle Eastern clients would give a **** if he was dismissed. They value discretion and good judgment.

    He could be an asset somewhere in their calculations.
    :lol: You can't be serious? That's really a bit of a stretch

    The partners at CC will be furious at him for attracting so much negative publicity. Trainees are supposed to be serving the firm and impressing the partners, not bringing negative publicity within months of starting. That suggests he has a massive ego and a deficit of good judgment.

    They haven't dismissed him now as has been said above, it's difficult and they might be asking for a lawsuit. But they're not going to keep him on as an associate, that's a guarantee
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    (Original post by citytctrainee)

    Having watched the whole 21 minute video, I think the awkward thing for Clifford Chance is that they tried to initially justify these remarks by talking about the need for diversity, rather than condemning what was a very unpleasant, hate filled diatribe.
    That's just stupid. There is no "need" for diversity at all, especially of that nature.
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    (Original post by young_guns)
    Well, the most comparable situation I can think of was when that CC trainee said on a YT video, "[My job is to] **** people over for money". He was dismissed
    The situations are similar but in many ways different - the differences make it a much more complicated situation. I can think of another similar story that didn't lead to anything apart from an apology.

    Plus there will be plenty of stories outside of the press, kept quiet by HR and PR teams though that could be compared.




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    Meh, he didn't say anything illegal.

    So they will just let him go at the end of the contract.
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    (Original post by young_guns)
    I doubt their Middle Eastern clients would give a **** if he was dismissed. They value discretion and good judgment.



    :lol: You can't be serious? That's really a bit of a stretch

    The partners at CC will be furious at him for attracting so much negative publicity. Trainees are supposed to be serving the firm and impressing the partners, not bringing negative publicity within months of starting. That suggests he has a massive ego and a deficit of good judgment.

    They haven't dismissed him now as has been said above, it's difficult and they might be asking for a lawsuit. But they're not going to keep him on as an associate, that's a guarantee
    I grant you, he hasn't shown very good judgement. But you, you know, it's likely that it is possible to take a more international view on it - think of it as more of a diplomatic international incident.

    It is what it is now; the thing CC will be thinking is, how to handle it and get a good result out of it. You just have to think a bit more laterally than you are perhaps currently thinking
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    (Original post by happyinthehaze)
    I grant you, he hasn't shown very good judgement. But you, you know, it's likely that it is possible to take a more international view on it - think of it as more of a diplomatic international incident.

    It is what it is now; the thing CC will be thinking is, how to handle it and get a good result out of it. You just have to think a bit more laterally than you are perhaps currently thinking
    It's damage limitation. When a fire starts, the best thing to do is contain it and starve it of oxygen - that's what they're doing.

    You seem to think that CC partners could give a rats ass about the development of their trainees or have some grand plan for them.... they don't
 
 
 
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