Such is the state of the #Metoo movement in the legal profession that Magic Circle firm Linklaters has launched a ‘sober supervisor’ scheme to avoid bad behaviour after boozy lunches and social gatherings.
The seemingly growing array of prosecutions and cases of sexual harassment and other incidents has lead to what some may see as a surfeit of caution, but Big Law is risk averse when it comes to its social gatherings now, it seems.
The widening telescope placed upon the behaviour of staff and principals at social gatherings has created a need for those in the work-hard-play-hard culture of the Big Law firms to ensure staffers and partners do not fall foul of any #Metoo complaint.
The policy was in place for last month’s Christmas party season, with partners appointed to supervise staff at lunches and other festive celebrations.
The Linklaters initiatives requires at least one supervisor to stay sober at events where alcohol is served. How difficult will that be for a typical British social gathering?
It is also understood that Linklaters has been encouraging its teams to call time on social events that revolve around drinking as part of an effort to make the firm more inclusive for staff who do not want to take part.
A spokesman for Linklaters said: “Our people work hard and we recognise the value of teams socialising together to help provide a healthy work-life balance.
“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.”