LinkedIn Lechers

I doubt if you have missed the furore over a young female barrister’s response to LinkedIn Lechers. A senior partner of a law firm responded to her connection request by complimenting her on her profile photograph. She, in turn, responded with a ‘nuclear’ response, to which he apologised. How do I know this? Because she shared the conversation (less her original request) on Twitter to ‘Name and Shame’. Read the comments here.

Photo posed by a model

Ladies and Gentlemen: there are so many ‘wrongs’ in this clash of legal minds, and neither person comes out well from the dispute. On the one hand, we have a senior lawyer, who forgot which Social Media platform he was on. Instead of remembering LinkedIn WASN’T a dating site, or Facebook where you can be friendly with people, he made a comment about her profile photo that whilst not being rude, possibly hinted that he might want more. If you scratched deeply below the surface. I am sure that everyone, men as well as women, have had private comments on LinkedIn that have been less than professional. You delete them, ignore them or even delete their profile from your connections.

However, the female lawyer decided the “Go for the jugular” approach was most appropriate, accusing him of being a misogynist in a somewhat aggressive attack. But she didn’t stop there; she then ‘Named and Shamed’, sharing his message to her AND her response on Twitter for all to see.

The female lawyer is clearly a very clever lady, who specialises in violence against women and girls including sexual violence, trafficking, forced marriage, FGM, and honour-based violence. She has undertaken pro bono work in Pakistan, the Middle East and the Democratic Republic of Congo where she helped establish the country’s first free legal advice centre for women and children and she was awarded Human Rights Barrister of the Year 2013 by International Acquisition. I have a great deal of admiration and respect for her work.

However, the comment made to her was not of a violent nature; it was an idiotic comment made by a middle aged male ‘sexist chancer’ who incidentally makes lewd comments about his daughter’s photographs on Facebook. Eek; what a man and what a creepy Dad… I am sure he’s the senior partner at the Law Firm no woman wants to share a taxi with. The best way to deal with a man like him is to make a joke of it; put him in his place, and move on. In a private email. Not ‘Naming and Shaming’.

The tragedy in this scenario is that the female lawyer is being ridiculed all over the media. A brilliant young career might end now, which would be terrible given the calibre of her work. Why is it that  people feel compelled to ‘Name and Shame’ on Social Media? She could have dealt with this in a private email (without sharing and possibly without being so vicious), and they would both have moved on. The Legal world is a small one, and sadly, she has won few brownie points from this. But another point is how can we be certain a private email isn’t going to be shared if someone decides to ‘name and shame’? Are we no longer able to manage business relationships without broadcasting anything we don’t like on Social Media, like a child telling tales?

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About the author

Susan Heaton Wright is a former opera singer who works with successful individuals and teams to make an impact with their voices and physical presence. Using her experience in using the voice and performing on stage, she works with people to improve their performances in a range of business situations; from meeting skills and on the telephone, to public speaking, presentations and appearing on the media.

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