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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 June, 2005, 11:54 GMT 12:54 UK
Ketchup spat executive leaves job
Mr Phillips felt humiliated after the e-mail exchange was made public
A senior lawyer whose row with his secretary over a 4 dry cleaning bill made the national news has resigned.

Baker & McKenzie's Richard Phillips e-mailed Jenny Amner implying she had spilt tomato ketchup on his trousers and asking her to foot the bill.

Her cutting reply, which referred to his greater "financial need as a senior associate" than hers as a secretary, was circulated around opposing firms.

The firm said Mr Phillips had decided in March to leave his job and study.

A spokeswoman for Baker & McKenzie confirmed that the executive had resigned from his 150,000 post and would leave the firm in September after working out his notice.

Due to my mother's sudden illness, death and funeral I have had more pressing issues than your 4
Jenny Amner

She said: "He resigned after the e-mail exchange between him and Jenny Amner but before all the publicity.

"We stress that we did not accept his resignation over this incident.

"Richard has long-standing plans to take time out to study and will be taking up his place in the autumn."

His original e-mail, which attracted notoriety in the legal world, asked for Ms Amner to cover a dry-cleaning bill after she apparently spilled tomato ketchup on his suit during lunch.

The message was reportedly sent on 25 May - the day after the lunch - while, unbeknown to Mr Phillips, his secretary was at her mother's funeral.

Collection offer

Mr Phillips wrote: "Hi Jenny. I went to a dry cleaners at lunch and they said it would cost 4 to remove the ketchup stains.

"If you cd let me have the cash today, that wd be much appreciated."

And Ms Amner replied on 3 June: "With reference to the e-mail below, I must apologise for not getting back to you straight away but due to my mother's sudden illness, death and funeral I have had more pressing issues than your 4.

"I apologise again for accidentally getting a few splashes of ketchup on your trousers.

"Obviously your financial need as a senior associate is greater than mine as a mere secretary."

Legal community

She had told partners, lawyers and trainees about his e-mail and they had offered to "do a collection" to raise the 4, she added in her e-mail.

"I, however, declined their kind offer but should you feel the urgent need for 4 it will be on my desk this afternoon," she wrote.

The exchange was forwarded across the legal community, with some people adding comments questioning Mr Phillips' generosity.

Ms Amner is believed to be considering her position in the company after allegedly being made to feel isolated by colleagues who feel that Mr Phillips was unfairly vilified.

A spokeswoman for the firm said she is still working for Baker & McKenzie, but is on "fully-paid leave of absence with full approval and full support".

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