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The Law Firm P*** Up: How The Drinking Culture at Law Firms Needs to Change

The Law Firm P*** Up: How The Drinking Culture at Law Firms Needs to Change 2

Hard-drinking law firm culture is something that needs to change, most lawyers know, but the culture of the law firm p*** up is something that should be left to law firm history.

An article in the Financial Times from legal affairs correspondent Kate Beioley pointed out that law firm practice, at least in London elite firms, is changing.

She quotes a junior lawyer saying that partners have grown increasingly nervous about joining in.

“Partners [senior lawyers] are terrified of going drinking with associates now,” he says. “And there’s basically an informal policy now that partners should never go drinking with female associates.” Law is in the middle of a crisis over its drinking culture.

The largest global legal groups are working hard to prevent more sex scandals and related problems that have been exacerbated by the prevalence of heavy drinking in the industry.

“Law firms aren’t alone but we’ve seen some high-profile problems recently,” a London-based partner at a US firm told the FT.

“The days of big p*ss-ups are gone and if law firms still want to turn a blind eye to it, then they should expect trouble.”

Alcohol has traditionally played a major role in the high pressure legal world, particularly among the corporate law firms where it has acted as a “social lubricant” for winning new clients and to relieve pressure from legal work.

As the FT reported said: Parties and expensive wine are ways of knitting together young lawyers on intensive placement schemes and new hires poached from rival firms. However, as the #MeToo movement spreads from Hollywood to the corporate world, the role alcohol plays in alleged misconduct issues at top-tier firms has come under scrutiny.

“The #MeToo [anti-sexual harassment] movement was a seismic shift and has moved into all areas where there’s the ability to abuse power — that of course includes law firms,” another senior partner in the City told the FT.

Senior male lawyers at UK firm Freshfields and Baker McKenzie were last year accused of sexual harassment and hauled in front of the UK lawyers’ regulator.

Source: Financial Times

sexual harassment in law office

See: Sexual Harassments & Coverups in the Law

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