How Russell McVeagh responded to the alleged assault of an intern

How Russell McVeagh responded to the alleged assault of an intern
Photo credit: Getty/ file

Embattled law firm Russell McVeagh reportedly never offered independent legal advice or counselling to an intern who was assaulted.

A support person for the intern told Newsroom that despite the law firm saying it conducted an investigation, the intern was "never even asked about the assault on her".

Interns were told by an HR staff member that it was defamatory to speak about their fears the perpetrators would reoffend, as they had not been found guilty in court, according to Newsroom.

Last week the firm announced an external review would commence immediately, headed by Dame Margaret Bazley .

The scope of the review includes sexual harassment claims in the summer of 2015/2016 that have been reported by media, as well as any other claims brought to the review panel's attention.

It will consider the firm's standards and policies relating to sexual harassment, as well as the culture of the firm.

Russell McVeagh senior partner Pip Greenwood admitted in a press release that incidents of sexual harassment have had "a profound effect on the women involved".

"We are all truly sorry and horrified that they occurred," she said.

"We are committed to ensuring that such incidents do not happen again. We are extremely grateful to Dame Margaret for agreeing to conduct this review."

The support person, who chose to remain anonymous to protect the identity of the intern, said the intern wanted the Government to show support by cutting ties to Russell McVeagh, according to Newsroom.

Attorney-General David Parker has confirmed Russell McVeagh is on the panel of lawyers that are "from time to time engaged by the Government", and some of its lawyers are currently active in this work.

He said there was more work that needed to be done by the firm in responding to the allegations, but he was not actively considering striking them off.

Russell McVeagh has been contacted for comment.