Magic circle firm Linklaters has launched a #MeToo whistleblower hotline

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Magic circle firm Linklaters launches sexual harassment whistleblower hotline (Source: Getty)

Law firm Linklaters has introduced a whistleblower hotline to allow its lawyers and staff to report sexual harassment allegations to a third party organisation.

The initiative, dubbed SpeakUp, has been launched to allow reports to be made to a third party organisation, an acknowledgement that staff and lawyers may feel uncomfortable about raising harassment issues with their managers or HR teams.

Those making reports can do so anonymously, with the results then shared with a small group of people at the firm who would then decide whether to launch a formal internal investigation.

Nobody named in a report would be given access to it.

The hotline is currently available to Linklaters lawyers and staff in the UK, Americas and Asia, and will be rolled out to further offices in due course.

Read more: Sex and power: Can law change its cover up culture?

The firm has also introduced a policy whereby relationships where potential conflicts of interests could arise have to be disclosed to the firm.

These include those between a partner or director and an employee, relationships where there is a direct reporting line, or relationships where one party can unduly influence the career progression, remuneration, promotion and work allocation of the other.

As with many industries, the legal sector has been grappling with the problem of sexual harassment recently with numerous firms expelling partners in recent months following allegations of sexual harassment.

Global legal giant Baker McKenzie recently parted ways with a partner after historic sexual harassment allegations came to light, while Dentons, Herbert Smith Freehills and Mayer Brown have all recently fired partners following sexual harassment allegations.

Read more: Law boss sent sex texts to woman he contacted through Christian group

The chair of Latham & Watkins, the second wealthiest firm in the world by revenue, recently resigned after admitting to “sexting” a woman he had contacted as part of a Christian outreach programme.

Bill Voge, the chair of the $3bn (£2.2bn) firm, said: “I made a personal mistake for which I bear considerable fault and humiliation. I deeply regret my lapse of judgement and I am sorry for the distress and embarrassment I have caused.”

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