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Linklaters appoints sober supervisors to chaperone boozy social events

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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.”

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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.

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13 Comments

Anonymous

The supervisors must be in a position where they don’t feel afraid to call out drunken false allegations.

LL Associate

The idea that false allegations are the issue at LL (or any big law firm) office parties – absolute state of you mate. Don’t think I’ve ever been to an office party where there wasn’t a legitimate HR issue – and meanwhile literally never heard of a false allegation. All big firms are full of handsy pervs at the senior levels. Everyone knows this if they’ve ever worked at one and aren’t a social pariah.

Anonymous

You’ve just made a false accusation mate – absolute state of you!

Anonymous

As if false accusations aren’t legislation HR issues.

QWERTY

Don’t worry guys – “LL associate” (who appears to struggle to write coherent sentences) has “literally never heard of” false accusations.

Panic over.

Associate

This is laughable. Completely ridiculous and yet another example of the UK city law firms having no idea. What is the designated sober person supposed to do exactly? Monitor the various drunken conversations, check the bar tab, make sure people get home okay? What if somebody says something inappropriate do they then intervene? Who on earth would want that role exactly? I’d also imagine most of the incidents happen at non official work events for example the ad hoc after work Friday drinks or the post closing lunch drinks the team goes to once the seniors have left. The hardcore drinkers and those who stay out all night will just lose the chaperone.

Anonymous

Agreed, and the supervisors will just become the office pariahs. The policing will probably also be discriminatory, since they’re more likely to go after the support starr, trainees and junior associates.

Booze is a just a part of socializing. Everyone should be unofficial supervisors whenever they can. The fact this policy is needed says a lot about their everybody-for-themselves culture.

Anonymous

Agreed, but the supervisors will go after whoever they don’t like or think they’re supposed to go after, the policy may well discriminate against partners or men too.

Big boy US trainee

not joking when I say, I’d find a different firm if this happened round my gaff.

Anonymous

Here’s a novel idea.. how about we all grow up, learn to behave like adults and drink responsibly.

Anonymous

Yes, both male and female.

Eve's mate

What does Eve think? Can’t wait for the next installment.

Anon

Ridiculous. Thank god I joined the Bar.

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