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Firm of the Year 2017: The worst meeting room biscuits
17 March 2017
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36 firms scored under 65% for their meeting room biscuits in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2017 survey.

There has been some mission creep over the years and occasionally respondents now grade their firm's general food situation. That appears to have inflicted damage on Macfarlanes' score, where a lawyer complained that "sandwiches at lunchtime training sessions are dull and too 'bready'". Another aspiring Egon Ronay said the canteen had "gone from strength to strength", but "unfortunately the 'chefs' are yet to be introduced to salt and pepper". As for the biscuits, they "have improved" and clients "have even complimented us on the snacks".

A Slaughter and May lawyer rued that "there always seems to be one person left without a KitKat at meetings", while another said that food "comes in two categories". If "you're a partner or you can bill the client for it, then it's great, bordering on excellent". If it's for internal meetings, "be prepared for shitty triangle sandwiches, which are usually stale before even being served, filled with sandwich spread but given fancy names like 'Sunday roast organic beef with candied pickles, Japanese horseradish cream and fresh salade romaine on wholesome rye bread'". Not even a fancy description at Fieldfisher, however, where the beloved cookies baked in-house "have recently been swapped out in favour of packaged biscuits (sad face)". At least "afternoon meetings now come with cake (happy face)".

The quality of the biscuits at Norton Rose Fulbright "has certainly depreciated over the two years I have been here", said a lawyer. "It is a race to see who gets to the single solitary chocolate biscuit", leaving slowcoaches in the meeting "to the new 'healthy' alternatives, which are frankly tasteless". Cupcakes sound like a winner, but not at Ashurst where they came with "brown, Mr Whippy-shaped icing dollops". Topped off with an edible 'ashurst' logo, they "looked like little dog turd cakes" and were "fortunately/unsurprisingly" for staff consumption only. A DWFer responded, "Biscuits? Never actually had any in a meeting, so I'm rating them very poor as they appear to be completely absent". A colleague who knows where they're kept said the "crunch biscuits" were "a standout dunker".  



It "definitely feels like there's a serious cost cutting exercise going on" at RPC, said a lawyer. The bowls of sweets "have quietly disappeared, as has the free breakfast". At least they don't have to endure the torture of Pinsent Masons staff who can see there are "great" biscuits like Tunnock's wafers, but can't touch them: "we recently had an office-wide email sent around", said a staffer, "reminding us that the biscuits were for clients only, and that staff shouldn't eat them". Or even "perish the thought, bring any spares down after client meetings for the others in the team". Biscuits don't grow on trees though, or indeed anywhere else at HFW. There was "now no point in getting in early for the chocolate hob nobs", because "they don't exist any more at HFW Towers". At poor old Plexus "we have to get our own biscuits". The same applied at Hill Dickinson, where a staffer said there was "no chance of biscuits unless you bring your own".

    Cookies are for clients not you 

Irwin Mitchell scored poorly despite one respondent promising that "the biscuit game is strong. We're talking individually-wrapped passionfruit and white chocolate cookies here". There was widespread upset at Watson Farley & Williams, where the food was until recently "exceptionally good" (think "guinea fowl, confit duck, good roasts"). But the "superb, celebrated chef has all but been forced out" and the kitchen "is now run by a commercial group and the food is truly awful", like "something you would typically find in a motorway service station".

Freshfields scored by far and away the most poorly of the Magic Circle, with biscuits falling "casualty to cost-cutting". A respondent said when they started at the firm "we had chocolate chip cookies", but "now we have plain digestives". KWM's food was slammed "despite the free lunches". The Golden Turd's choices "can be a bit crap at times": the "cheesy risotto thing is disgusting - like eating vomit", there were "not enough healthy options" and "OH YEAH WE'RE GOING FUCKING BUST!!!"

Ince & Co came bottom for biscuits, apparently because there were "just cheap mints" in the meeting rooms. But spare a thought for staffers at lawyers-to-the-Queen Farrer & Co, which didn't qualify for the survey because of an insufficient number of responses but whose resident gourmand deserves to be heard. "The cookies used to be made in-house, and were simply divineHoweverthey've replaced them with these shop -bought monstrosities - an altogether unsatisfactory affair". One despairs.

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