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Linklaters has introduced a new sober supervisor scheme to ensure its lawyers remain professional at boozy social events.
The magic circle giant recommends that partners assign a member of staff to remain booze-free — not too dissimilar to a designated driver — and supervise at work events where alcohol is being served.
The policy was in place for the Christmas party season, according to Links — a period in which some City lawyers tend to let their hair down and, in the process, consume too much alcohol.
“Our people work hard and we recognise the value of teams socialising together to help provide a healthy work-life balance,” a spokesperson for Links said. “As part of a wider set of guidelines covering social activities, we have recommended to partners, directors and business leaders that they designate a non-drinking role to a senior person to assist the smooth running of our social events.”
Legal Cheek also understands the firm is encouraging its lawyers to host events where alcohol is not the focus, in a bid to create a more welcoming environment for those that don’t or don’t want to drink alcohol.
The move comes just a week after The Law Society’s Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) issued fresh guidance on creating a healthy alcohol culture in the legal profession. As part of this, the group — which is not serving alcohol at any of its events during ‘Dry January 2020’ — offered up a range of alcohol-free networking alternatives including paint-balling, hat making and mini-golf.
The legal profession’s relationship with alcohol, particularly in the City, was placed in the spotlight during the disciplinary tribunal of the now-former Freshfields partner Ryan Beckwith. At the time, the tribunal heard how the Anglo-German giant allegedly fostered a “drinking culture” where junior lawyers were encouraged to go to the pub for drinks on Thursday and Friday nights.