Top City law firm sued by Jewish partner for racial discrimination

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The Independent Online

A senior Jewish solicitor at City lawyers Simmons & Simmons is suing his own firm for racial discrimination.

A senior Jewish solicitor at City lawyers Simmons & Simmons is suing his own firm for racial discrimination.

The complaint has been lodged with the Employment Tribunal on behalf of Robert Schon, a tax lawyer who joined Simmons 20 years ago and was made a partner in 1988. Senior equity partners at the firm can earn around £500,000.

Simmons, which according to trade magazine The Lawyer is ranked 13th out of the top 100 City law firms, confirmed a complaint had been received but declined to discuss the matter.

"We will be filing a defence at the appropriate time," it said in a statement. "Given that this matter is now before the tribunal, it would be inappropriate to comment further."

Mr Schon's solicitor, Colin Harvey, also declined to comment, other than to confirm he was acting for his client.

It is not known what prompted Mr Schon, who continues to work at Simmons, to file the complaint.

Mr Schon is one of five tax partners based in the London office. The UK tax team is led by Nick Cronkshaw, who qualified as a solicitor in 1992 and was made a partner six years ago. He became head of the department in 2002.

Lawyers put themselves forward to head the team and are then voted in by their fellow partners. Mr Schon has never led the department.

Simmons had reported turnover in the 2002-03 financial year of £176.9m, with average profits per equity partner of £300,000. For senior equity partners, that figure can rise to £500,000.

However, the firm - led by highly respected employment lawyer Janet Gaymer - is reported to have seen a drop in profits since then while turnover has remained static.

Simmons has 213 partners and a total staff of 1,900 but is undergoing a restructuring which aims to reduce the number of partners in London by 12 per cent.

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