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Shock! Report reveals booze and sexism rife at top law firms
13 April 2012
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Research funded by the Legal Services Board has revealed a culture of heavy drinking, sexism and racism within the top reaches of the profession.

Whilst the 83 page report was researched back in 2010, it was presented this week to the good folk of the British Sociological Association at their annual conference. The report claims that female and ethnic minority solicitors felt compelled to adopt inventive strategies to survive in the male-dominated, alcohol-fuelled atmosphere at the top of the profession. As reported in the Law Gazette, that includes "taking up the hobbies, customs and dress of the dominant work group", or by otherwise disguising themselves, their backgrounds or career aspirations.

The report claims that some women feel obliged to hide any pictures of their children in their offices, while Asian lawyers dress in a "western" fashion (i.e. ill-fitting chinos and a Ralph Lauren polo shirt with a popped collar) to fit in. Others have to avoid firm events because of the excessive drinking. All of these are the result, the research claims, of "the dominant, white, masculine culture" found at top law firms.

    Scenes in a typical law firm.

Whilst the denizens of the BSA may have recoiled in horror at the researchers' findings, to most legal professionals there's little new in claims that lawyers are partial to pints, punch ups and prurient behaviour. Trolley-gate at Herbert Smith, Beachcroft's arse-beer shame, fighting at BLP, fisticuffs at Pinsents and nudity at Eversheds are all fine examples.

The report isn't wholly damning, generously conceding that the profession is "not full of nasty, evil men trying to squash women". So G&Ts all round then.


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