The Parisian lawyer has been targeted since November by a disciplinary procedure by the Paris Bar Council. A year ago, “Liberation” had collected testimonies describing a “climate of fear” within his cabinet.
One year after the investigation of Release, which had revealed deleterious working conditions described by around twenty collaborators of the lawyer Emmanuel Pierrat, the Paris Bar Council confirmed on Wednesday that a disciplinary procedure had been aimed at him since last November. The president of the order, Me Julie Couturier, thus confirmed the opening by her predecessor, Me Olivier Cousi, of this procedure, without specifying what the facts were.
“In order to correct inaccuracies and/or to avoid the dissemination of erroneous information, it seems to me necessary to make public objective elements relating to the existence, non-existence or progress of a procedure”justified the chairman.
Suspicions of “failures”
In a survey published by Release in February 2021, around twenty people who worked with the lawyer had described a climate of fear, insults and contempt exercised by their boss, and facts that could amount to harassment. A source familiar with the matter indicated that the order had opened this disciplinary procedure at the beginning of November 2021 for suspicions of “failures” from Me Pierrat to “all the essential principles of the profession”but also for a “managerial style” can “appear to be harassing”.
Such a procedure gives rise to the appointment of an instructor who decides, at the end of his investigation, to refer the file to the judgment panel of the Bar Council. This can release the lawyer or pronounce sanctions going as far as the prohibition to practice or the striking off.
The lawyer, also a novelist, essayist and art collector, has defended several personalities from the world of culture, including the writers Gabriel Matzneff, accused of pedocrime, and Edouard Louis or the visual artist Claude Lévêque, suspected of rape of minors. He also defended the ex-ecologist Denis Baupin, accused of sexual violence.
Several investigations have recently been published on the harassment of young lawyers and jurists in law firms, in the wake of the Instagram account “Balance your law firm”. In January, Release thus published a survey on the Lexing law firm: obsessive control of employees, extravagant demands, intimidation… Twenty employees, former or current of the structure, also described a “climate of terror”.