Lawyer Emmanuel Pierrat has been targeted since November by disciplinary proceedings by the Paris Bar Council for suspicion of harassment, AFP learned on Wednesday February 16 from a source familiar with the matter.
The president of the order, Me Julie Couturier, confirmed to AFP 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 conduct of a procedure“, justified the chairman. Contacted several times since Tuesday, Me Pierrat did not respond to AFP.
A climate of fear, insults and contempt
In a survey published by Liberation 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 “shortcomings» from Me Pierrat to «all the essential principles of the profession“, but also for a “management style“can”amount to harassment“.
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.
Two sources familiar with the matter told AFP that the matter was “overwhelming“. Several investigations have been published recently on the harassment of young lawyers and jurists in law firms, in the wake of the Instagram account “Balance your law firm“. According to a survey conducted in 2018 by the Defender of Rights, 72% of women and 47% of men lawyers report having witnessed discrimination against their colleagues.