A London McDermott, Will & Emery partner has been rebuked by the Solicitors Regulation Authority for “wrongly” advising clients that a Zoom link of their libel trial could be shared with a third party.
In July 2020, partner Ziva Robertson, who joined McDermott’s London office from Withers in 2013, told her clients who she was defending in a libel trial that the Zoom link could be shared, breaching an order that there would be ”no transmission of a live transcript, audio or video feed of the trial”.
Following the breach, McDermott referred the matter to the SRA, according to the decision published on Wednesday. Robertson has agreed to the rebuke and to pay the costs of the SRA’s investigation of £600.
In making its decision, the SRA found that Robertson’s conduct was “inadvertent”, she was “remorseful” and that there was “general confusion and uncertainty” around remote and hybrid trials at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.
A firm spokesperson said: “McDermott Will & Emery notes the terms of the regulatory settlement agreement between the SRA and Ziva Robertson. We have been fully supportive of Ziva throughout the process in our firm belief that she made an honest oversight in the context of a complex court hearing at the height of the pandemic and emergent hybrid procedures.
“We are pleased that the SRA process has concluded and that Ziva can now focus on running her own practice and leading the contentious private client team at McDermott in London.”
Robertson did not respond to a request for comment.
Robertson’s rebuke is the latest example of action taken by the SRA in recent months. In May, a former Clyde & Co partner was also rebuked by the SRA for having “failed to have sufficient regard for the well-being of a female trainee solicitor” at a work-related event in 2017.