"Oh, you all made it. Great."
In-house lawyers have been revealing attempts by law firms to socialise with their clients, and their answers confirm the overwhelming importance of social skills.
"There's always the hope that they will cancel our drinks so I don't have to sit and make small talk," said one in-house lawyer. "Last time I was trapped with a Partner who talked in depth about the castration of his pet dog."
"As socially awkward as Mr Bean," said a client of their lawyer. "Although at least Mr Bean was amusing."
One client was disappointed in what their lawyers could offer for client entertainment: "I do miss being invited to private gallery and exhibition viewings and things like that which used to happen before. It would actually be nice to meet some of those we instruct more outside of a teams meeting - but not just for drinks, that's so dull and not enough of a draw to give up taking an earlier train home."
However, firms can take things too far, when looking to spice up an evening. "I got invited to a strip club by a London lawyer," said one in-house lawyer. "Ended up paying for his dances as he was so drunk the girls took advantage."
Clients objected to having to pay to spend time with their lawyers: "We accepted an invite to one of our externals to the new members of their team and have a catch up...they charged us for the drinks and sandwiches they put on."
While another in-house lawyer revealed that an evening with an associate was "charged as client entertainment," which was particularly perplexing, as they added: "How is watching a man dance in a gimp suit while fisting a parrot entertaining me?" A possible contender for most obscure perk of the survey; but it's still early days.
One respondent expected more of a firm when it came to offering grub at their premises: "Went to a law firm for training and lunch in the City last month and they put on a decent spread, but there were no cakes or sweet treats. Absolute barbarians."
Are you an in-house lawyer? Spill the beans on the law firms you instruct below.