Lawyer Emmanuel Pierrat was sentenced on appeal in Paris on Thursday March 23 for harassment within his firm to an eighteen-month ban on practice, including six months suspended, learned Friday March 24, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) from a source familiar with the matter.

According to the magistrates of the 13th chamber of the Court of Appeal, this sanction is “justified, appropriate and proportionate”, while that pronounced by the disciplinary council of the order of lawyers at the Paris bar in July 2022 – two months prohibition of practice – was “insufficient in view of the seriousness of the grievances”.

According to elements of the decision made known to AFP, the court recognized “aggressive, insulting and humiliating behavior of a lasting and systemic nature” by the lawyer, practicing since 1997. It also notes “the worrying absence awareness of the situation by Mr. Pierrat”, who must “find a professional behavior more in line with what is expected of a lawyer”.

Contacted, his counsel, Jean-Didier Belot, announced that he had lodged an appeal in cassation, without further comment.

Disputed charges

According to elements of the judgment, Mr. Pierrat argued during the procedure “to have never had within his cabinet anything but legitimate demands, in connection with the very strong pressure he is under as head of company [responsible] for developing the firm’s clientele, and having never practiced aggressive management”.

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. In a long right of reply, Mr. Pierrat explained that he “challenged with the greatest firmness the accusations made” by the daily.

A source close to the case told AFP in early 2022 that the order had opened this disciplinary procedure in early November 2021 for suspicions of “breaches” by Emmanuel Pierrat of “all the essential principles of the profession” but also for a “management style” which may “amount to harassment”.

“Since the beginning of my mandate and until its end, I intend to apply a policy of zero tolerance in disciplinary matters on issues of harassment and discrimination”, reacted, solicited by AFP, the president Julie Couturier, who had appealed the “too lenient” first instance decision.

Emmanuel Pierrat, also a novelist, essayist and art collector, has defended several personalities from the world of culture.