Reputational risk for Dechert following UK ruling: Zach Olsen speaks with The American Lawyer

May 27, 2022

Infinite Global President Zach Olsen was featured in a recent article by The American Lawyer article discussing the reputational risks facing Dechert following a London High Court ruling.

Last week, a London High Court ruling found Dechert and Neil Gerrard, the firm’s former white-collar co-head, responsible for misconduct aimed at extracting maximum profits from client Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. Although legal fallout was limited to the UK, as President Zach Olsen discussed with The American Lawyer, the firm’s reputational risk extends across the Atlantic.

When commenting on the situation, Olsen indicated that Dechert needs to be taking proactive measures to mitigate not just against negative publicity from the recent ruling but future harm when damages from the matter emerge. He said, “Neil Gerrard violated on so many levels the trust that’s core to the attorney-client relationship. The potential risk to Dechert can’t be understated.”

The article also included Olsen’s commentary on how the firm should respond. He indicated, “I’d be utilizing the global heads of the white-collar group and their relationship partners to get out there to protect their relationships with marquee clients. They need to be establishing that Gerrard’s actions were his alone, not those of the firm, and that’s not how it rewards and incentivizes lawyers.”

When observing that Dechert was coming across as particularly guarded in its public statements in response to the judgment, Olsen commented, “Dechert can use this as an opportunity to communicate who the firm is and what it stands for.” He argues that the firm’s leadership could regain trust and loyalty by acknowledging that something had happened and showing how it had learned from these past missteps. A key part of that effort is spotlighting the actions the firm is taking.

“They need to communicate what systems they have to monitor these issues in the future,” Olsen added. “Having an answer to that question is paramount to winning this reputational battle.”

Read the full article on The American Lawyer (subscription required).