AN AUSTRALIAN lawyer working with Clifford Chance in the UK has become the latest worldwide example of the social — and more significantly professional — pitfalls of email.
London’s The Observer newspaper reports that Patrick Smith faces the sack from his £60,000 per annum job after a lewd email he wrote was accidentally circulated throughout the city’s cloistered business community.
Replying to a group discussion in which plans for drinks were being discussed, Smith banged out a message referring to the assumed after hours preferences of one of his legal female acquaintances.
True to the folklaw of disastrous email escapades, Smith accidentally hit “reply all”. Instead of the sexually explicit message being read only by intended recipient and friend Venn King, a fellow Australian lawyer, the 30 members of the group discussion were alerted to his views.
A predictable sequence of events then followed, with most of the recipients forwarding on the missive to associates, who did the same. Within hours Patrick Smith’s London sojourn had soured somewhat.
Clifford Chance has since suspended Smith and is in the process of investigating the matter. A decision regarding his future employment at the firm hangs on the inquiry.