The recruitment company responsible for placing a near-xenophobic advertisement seeking lawyers on behalf of Magic Circle firm Slaughter and May has apologised for any offence caused.
The advertisement, which was posted by UK legal recruitment company First Counsel, sought competition law associates and inferred that candidates did not necessarily have to be from the UK.
Unfortunately, however, the advertisement was phrased like this: "Perhaps counter-intuitively, the firm is not as exacting in terms of its requirements as one might expect, and will happily consider lawyers from Australia, New Zealand and Brussels".
The ad continued that the firm's focus was on the quality of candidates, and therefore "the location of the candidate should not have a bearing on the measure of the quality, provided the experience is relevant and the academics are strong".
Slaughter and May's executive partner, Graham White, told Lawyers Weekly that the advertisement was withdrawn as soon as the firm became aware of it.
"It had been placed without our knowledge and of course we had not seen the wording," said White. "The intention of the advert was to make it clear that we would welcome applications from candidates with competition experience even though it might not be experience in London. However, it was badly drafted and clearly could cause offence."
White also said that William Cock, a representative from First Counsel, had been to see him and "they have also sent a written apology".
"First Counsel very much regret causing offence and have said they apologise to all concerned," said White.