The Chairman of Irwin Mitchell's asset management group emailed staff to promote a twerking class.

Niall Baker sent an email around the firm on Monday inviting staff to "an hour of twerking from home" delivered by a dedicated twerk instructor via Zoom. 

"I didn't imagine it was Niall's thing", said an insider. Another source suggested Baker had circulated the email on behalf of the firm's gender diversity group, which was organising the event.

The invitation, open to everyone at the firm, was capped at a maximum of 20 people so the instructor could "offer individual input". The invite recommended twerkers wear "a loose pair of shorts".

"The class is designed to teach you the basis of Twerking," said the email, and would include "routines as well as a Twerk choreography teaching you how to werQ* to the beat." The move, which has its roots in black dance culture and is now frequently encountered in clubs at 2am after 15 sambuccas, was described in the email as an "energetic workout that targets the glutes, thighs, inner leg muscles and calf muscles" as well as toning the abs. 

The email described twerking as a "fun, effective way to get fit and stay in shape". Which may be true, but sources suggested its reputation as a sexualised dance move made it an odd choice of activity, particularly to promote gender diversity.

Irwin Mitchell staff appear to have agreed, with so few people opting to see or be seen by their colleagues squatting and shaking their bums on screen, that the class was cancelled. The firm said it had cancelled the class due to "low engagement" and "feedback".


Twerk IM

Twerking from home: binned


“A professional dance workshop was arranged by our gender diversity group aimed at encouraging confidence, improving fitness and to raise money for a women’s domestic violence charity," said a spokesman for Irwin Mitchell. "Based on low engagement and feedback from colleagues we’ve taken the decision to cancel the class while still making a donation to the charity.”

Other firms have opted for more tried-and-tested activities for staff to connect remotely during lockdown.  

* Not a typo in Twerk circles

Tip Off ROF

Comments

Anonymous 03 July 20 09:19

More interested in how to become the instructor for these classes. Sounds better than being a lawyer. 

Anonymous IM staff member who would have loved to twerk! 03 July 20 09:37

Instead of taking the piss how about recognising the fact that IM and Niall Baker are actually Trying to do something positive and light hearted with both staff and good causes? 

ShootyMcShootyface 03 July 20 09:51

Well, it was a useful test of how many people at IM are missing either the "Wait, this is a really shit idea, what are we thinking?" filter, or the balls to say "Yeah, no, that's an awful idea."

Anonymous 03 July 20 09:52

“The dance, usually reserved for clubs at 2am after 15 sambuccas“ 

Clearly the author of this has no clue of the culture behind twerking. Thanks for trivialising black culture while criticising others attempts at diversity. 

Anonymous 03 July 20 09:55

What’s the chance the guy who wrote this used to take the lads down the strip club after work? 
 

But god forbid women empower themselves to twerk if they want to. Also men twerk too hun. 

Anonymous 03 July 20 09:55

*"usually reserved by white people who only dance when drunk, for clubs at 2am after 15 sambuccas".  

Anonymous 03 July 20 10:08

Didn't take long for the comments to divert into a gender and ethnic argument.  That's very in fashion at the moment. 

Anonymous 03 July 20 10:13

I wonder what some of that "feedback" referred to was? I imagine that law firms shouldn't be asking their staff to do a dance that Miley Cyrus said made her feel "sexualised" when she had to do it. 

Anonymous 03 July 20 10:16

Twerking is cultural misappropriation which is why Irwin Mitchell should never have tried to persuade staff to do it. 

Anonymous 03 July 20 10:16

@09:52

haha wow I hope you're trolling.

Even if you want to call it cultural appropriation, there is no way you can disagree that twerking is not something to be done in a City law firm.

Confused solicitor 03 July 20 10:21

I'm a woman and I fail to see the link between twerking and gender diversity. I don't think it is about empowerment for me to be thrusting on screen with colleagues on a zoom call. 

Lighten up people 03 July 20 10:23

This is actually just a funny story. People taking it so seriously in the comments makes it even funnier. 

Anonymous 03 July 20 10:27

What a shallow article from RoF, did not expect anything else. The author has no idea about twerking and its culture, and how dare women decide what they are doing with their bodies and whether or not they should be twerking!

Anonymous 03 July 20 10:37

Seems like there's a lot of people itching for a twerk. If only there was as much enthusiasm at Irwin Mitchell the class would have gone ahead. What's wrong with Irwin Mitchell staff? Why won't they twerk? 

Anonymous 03 July 20 10:37

Having worked with Niall in BLS some years ago, the idea of him running a twerking session is amusing but other than that, you can't help but feel that the knives are out for IM whatever they do. Perhaps this is misguided but it doesn't deserve this level of criticism. At least they're trying to do things for their staff. 

Anonymous 03 July 20 10:41

Great to see the marketing / press team up bright and early to make the early comments to defend the offender.  Just shows that Irwin Mitchell just doesn't get it and whatever social media they put out or awards they win, they are still are detached from reality

Anonymous 03 July 20 10:51

Irwin Mitchell said there was "low engagement" so the lesson for law firms is don't ask your staff to twerk, whether you think it's sexual or not - the point is, staff don't want to do on company time. And they don't want to see their co-workers doing it. 

Anonymous 03 July 20 11:12

I'm in a gender diversity group at another firm and I can confirm that we would never offer twerking lessons for our staff. It would be laughed down before it got anywhere. I'm amazed Irwin Mitchell actually got to the stage of sending an email out.

Concerned Irwin Mitchell Associate 03 July 20 11:27

It concerns me that people at my law firm are so out of touch with what people want that this was allowed to happen. I was raised to believe lawyers should be finely attuned to clients, colleagues and the wider market so that they can be at their best . This just reeks of incompetence from people who should know better, the very same people who are tasked with training juniors, running a business, pitching for new work and solving client issues in a highly competitive industry.

Squandering opportunity and potential is pure selfishness on yourself and those you engage with. 

Anon 03 July 20 11:54

I'm rolling my eyes at this. We are all stuck at home, haven't seen colleagues in months and are bored with pub quizzes. Large law firms and popular dance crazes probably shouldn't be in the same Venn diagram but it is surely unlikely that an exercise class run for or by a law firm is going to be overtly sexualised or culturally insensitive. It is a shame that this fell flat on its face but it would be a greater shame if no one tried to have a creative idea in future because ROF will carp about it. Lighten up. 

Another Irwin Mitchell Associate 03 July 20 12:07

@Concerned Irwin Mitchell Associate

Agree with you, our firm is an embarrassment. People are worried about job losses and the firm comes up with this. This is where I would insert a Face Palm Emoji.

Anonymous 03 July 20 12:17

As the victim of a twerking incident in a nightclub when someone entered my personal space and twerked aggressively at me, I would be triggered at the horrific sight of witnessing coworkers twerking. 

Snitchell 03 July 20 12:20

The fat white Yarkshire males running Snitchell will have been oblivious to the inappropriateness of this.

it is funny and serves them right for snitching on the lad watching porn in the office across the street.

Karma has risen up and bitten Snitchell on its twerking ass.

 

 

Pork pies 03 July 20 12:31

I’m surprised it wasn’t a pork pie eating competition and the twerking was ancillary to the main event.  
 

Anonymous 03 July 20 12:40

Its amazing this firm hasn't been called out on #metoo or were the agreements written to remove people too water tight.  At last the firm is again showing its true colours and just shows that nothing they write or tweet about is true.  Its the same people, running the same ineffectual business model with mass redundancies in the offing and no understanding of the modern changing world

Sheffield is not the centre of the universe

Remember, this sort of attitude is just part of the unwritten culture

I believe leopards cant change their spots - Irwin Mitchell leadership is a perfect example of this

Anonymous 03 July 20 12:48

Small businesses like dance studios / teachers etc are losing out on a lot of business so maybe people here need to remember that someone lost out on job here. I wonder how they’d feel to read this, where their business is belittled by people on salaries. 

Red 03 July 20 13:01

12:48, the clap for twerk instructors has been every Sunday morning at 6am. Where have you been? Get out there and bang a pan. 

Anonymous 03 July 20 13:05

I’m just imagining that all these comments are by a bunch of fat, middle aged white guys expressing their opinions on how women should feel about twerking 😂

Anonymous 03 July 20 13:08

@12.48

If a small business has lost out on a job because there wasn't interest at Irwin Mitchell, then the firm should do the decent thing and still pay them. It's not the fault of the small business, but Irwin Mitchell's fault for stupidly failing to see it wasn't an appropriate match.

Anonymous 03 July 20 13:08

As a man who twerks I am struggling to see how it’s sexualisation if we’re all choosing to do it. Some of you need to loosen up a bit. Maybe try a twerk class!

Anonymous 03 July 20 13:09

What a bunch of twerks. One bad idea after another. Led by donkeys these days. All sat in their ivory tower in Sheffield surrounded by people who tell them everything is fine. 

Anonymous 03 July 20 13:22

Wow, there is a litany of problematic language on here 'tone deaf' and 'fat white Yarkshire males' never mind the common assumption that this event was only aimed at women. Yes, you certainly occupy the moral high ground.

Is this really about gender diversity? 03 July 20 13:23

@1305 I'm a woman from a BAME background and I feel that twerking is a silly, degrading idea for a work zoom call.

I am middle aged though and I think your comment is ageist. 

Hogan Lovells Lawyer 03 July 20 14:07

Hog Love Lawyer here - shocked that Irwin Snitchell had the temerity to grass on one of our Lawyers for watching p0rn. A communal twerking zoom session where staff are asked to wear a loose pair of shorts is far more lurid. 

Moron Twitchell 03 July 20 14:11

"Based on low engagement and feedback from colleagues we’ve taken the decision to cancel the class"

Bravo Irwin Mitchell but most firms wouldn't have put forward an idiotic idea in the first place

Irwin Mitchell associate 03 July 20 14:25

A WhatsApp group of us had a snigger when the email was sent. General consensus is we're not surprised this has made it on ROF as it's pretty typical of the incompetent and unaware management that we have to deal with.

Anonymous 03 July 20 14:40

Bad idea, most probably not his. Comedy comments implying that its in some way sexist.

Why so serious? 03 July 20 14:46

Crikey. Judging by a few comments, some of you need to chill out and get a sense of humour! This really isn't the best battle to pick for a gender war.

What we can take is that staff, both females and males, at law firms don't want to twerk in front of each other (or at least not while sober on a zoom call). Hence there not being enough people who signed up and the class was scrapped... but, it is kinda amusing that a firm would suggest twerking in the first place.  

Anonymous 03 July 20 14:46

Well done @Is this really about gender diversity? you clearly speak for all BAME people and the rest should just sit down and shut up. 

Middle-aged is the beige between young and old. I think we’d have to use words like “fogey” and “ancient” to truly be ageist. Wait till you’re proper old and then you can get really grumpy about it. I’d still support your right to twerk or not to twerk tho. 

Nee nor nee nor 03 July 20 14:58

What a stupid and crass thing to do but what do you expect from a bunch of ambulance chasers?

This is what happens when nobody is having accidents in their cars or at work.  The ambulance chasers have nothing to occupy themselves with and resort to trying to raise laughs by showing their arses.  
 

An IM partners meeting 03 July 20 15:05

Ey up ‘ave got a great idea son.  Let’s show us asses as we twek.  Aye let’s do it when they ring t’ Sheffield siren that tells us it’s time for wi dinner coz nobody’s got a watch.

Oooh can wi get to run this for Irwin Mitchells? Ooohs got fattest ass?  

Aye let’s go wi that lad.  

 

Irwin Mitchell twerker 03 July 20 15:09

I, for one, am devastated that the twerking class was cancelled.

I demand that the firm reinstates it, even if the class is held solely for me and my bootylicious booty.

Chubby Checker And The Twerkers 03 July 20 15:24

Which throbbing bell end thought this was a good idea?  Shaming a 3 time golden turd champion by cancelling an event like this is just disgraceful.  
Nobody should be deprived of the right to twerk no matter how fat their arses might be.

its a [email protected] travesty.  
 

Film pitch 03 July 20 15:26

Could have a Billy Elliot type of story here. Irwin Mitchell lawyer in Sheffield takes secret twerk lessons at the firm, unknown to his no-nonsense supervising partner.

The partner finally accepts his associate as a twerker. Emotional ending with the partner welling-up while watching the associate twerking on stage in Matthew Bourne's latest version of Swan Lake, where all the swans are twerkers.

Irwin Snitchell 03 July 20 15:38

So apparantly Partners have been round the floor asking lawyers to comment on this article being disparaging and supporting Niall Baker (not the first time the IM sub-management have pulled such a stunt)!

Anonymous 03 July 20 15:53

@Irwin Snitchell 15:38

Bahahahahaha look forward to reading some of those coming up. It seems some of them have already been busy
 

Anonymous 03 July 20 16:01

Love how stern some of the comments are. This is twerking we are talking about.

Twerkers unite, protest against Irwin Mitchell for cancelling your right to twerk!

Used to work at Twerkin' Mitchell 03 July 20 17:12

Twerkin' Mitchell / Irwin Snitchell is the laughing stock of the legal profession. So glad I got out when I could.

Twerkin Mitchell ASSociate 03 July 20 17:33

“A professional dance workshop was arranged by our gender diversity group aimed at Throw that, twerk it, Shake that, bounce that, Move it, baby, baby do it," said a spokesman for Twerkin Mitchell. 

Anon 03 July 20 17:40

This is clearly a well intentioned suggestion with the sole purpose of encouraging colleagues to have some light hearted fun and raise money for charity at the same time.  Not remotely newsworthy 

between a rock and a hard place 03 July 20 17:55

It's unclear to me, why IM didn't make the right choice on how to deal with the diversity initiative's proposal. The options are obvious:

a) decide for twerking and take the flak for cultural (mis)appropriation and outrage for creating an opportunity for everyone at the firm (potentially also white senior males (!)) to attend in a zoom call where their co-workers (potentially also junior females) would twerk in loose shorts

b) decide against twerking and take the flak for "white males deciding on how women should feel about twerking" or preventing "women [from] empower[ing] themselves to twerk if they want to"

How could they be so insensitive not to make the right choice

Confused with gender diversity agenda at Irwin Mitchell 03 July 20 18:25

@between a rock and a hard place

"...creating an opportunity for everyone at the firm (potentially also white senior males (!)) to attend in a zoom call where their co-workers (potentially also junior females) would twerk in loose shorts..." 

What a great advert for gender diversity ideas at Irwin Mitchell right there!!

Female PI Lawyer 03 July 20 18:44

And the award for worst gender diversity proposal goes to.....Twerkin Mitchell

Anon 03 July 20 19:31

I'm keeping an eye on the number comments and twerking is winning over terfing. Very interesting

Irwin Mitchell Lawyer 03 July 20 20:07

@between a rock and a hard place: As a woman at the firm, I don't understand how the gender diversity group thinks that twerking in loose shorts on Zoom potentially with our male colleagues = empowerment for women.

I wonder if they'll propose poledancing or a lapdance on Zoom next time for empowerment.

All twerk and no pay 03 July 20 21:25

In all fairness, Niall is actually the most reasonable out of our higher masters which is why it is a real shame he emailed it out of all of them he is the least out of touch (I had actually met him in person which after nearly a decade here I have not met anyone higher than my own teams partner).

I nearly cringed myself inside out when I received the email.

I'm not opposed to it being offered, theoretically, just give it with a list of 5 other options, links to the providers websites and note that the most popular classes would go ahead. Then, if people do want to do it they can, if they don't they don't. 

Some women (or men!) might be empowered by twerking. Personally, being paid a reasonable wage, having my comments taken into consideration when I suggest ways to improve, being spoken to like a human being by solicitors and partners, being trusted to do my job, and not micromanaged are all things that might make me feel empowered. Shame IM is never going to provide that. 

Anonymous 03 July 20 22:15

That is something a mediocre, mid-tier provincial bulk-PI outfit might do...oh, hang on.

Speak up for “in touch” Niall 03 July 20 23:47

Some support for Niall on the basis he’s more “in touch” than any of the other “I like what ah say and ah say what ah like merchants” who occupy senior management positions at Twerkin Ambulance Chasing Snitchell.  Let’s just think about that before exclaiming “what the fu*k?” Can you imagine what the others must be like? What’s planned next week?  A game of choccy biscuit? 

Anonymous 04 July 20 08:15

I worked with Niall a few years ago and he a decent chap, he's the messenger but shows that there are many who want to throw him under the bus.  

Doesnt excuse IM's leadership from another demonstration of their utter incompetence.  Their connection to reality was and still is totally detached from reality

Anon 04 July 20 09:57

Irwin Mitchell's cancellation of the diversity enhancing twerking class is another example of a male dominated law firm's attempt to assert hegemonic masculinity by suppressing an important cultural exercise programme that empowers women.

The firm's patriarchal system dictates to women how they should act and feel, rather than allowing women their own choice and freedom of expression to twerk. 
 

IM Partner 04 July 20 11:12

@9:57 - This is exactly the kind of idiotic rambling that poor Niall has been forced to try to accommodate.
 

Trouble ahead 04 July 20 11:16

You have to feel a bit sorry for Niall but the problems at IM go far deeper than his email.  Debt, not enough cash being generated, huge turnover of partners, incompetent managers and the perennial inability to create a credible profitable business services division are some of its more pressing problems.  It trundles along persevering with a business model that once worked but doesn’t work so well today and definitely won’t work for ever.

It’s biggest barrier to reform are the PI and volume dinosaurs who control every aspect of the firm.  They don’t know how to change things because all they know is how to run a PI or volume stack it high sell it cheap business.  Thomas Eggar represents a squandered opportunity but the failings will be blamed on others rather than the dinosaurs who messed it up.  The dinosaurs don’t realise they are dinosaurs and that’s why things will just keep getting worse.

 

Anonymous 04 July 20 12:09

Twerkin Snitchell doesn't know its arse from its elbow. The firm will have problems locating its derrière for the twerking.

Gender diversity supporter at IM 04 July 20 15:32

Sadly, the decision to cancel twerking reflects IM's unwillingness to commit to gender diversity and activities of different cultures. Twerking gives confidence and empowers women and it is shameful that IM isn't supporting it.

There are men at the firm who have tried to sexualise or make jokes about twerking, even though there is nothing remotely sexual or funny about twerking.

Annoyed IM Solicitor 04 July 20 17:43

Some people at IM, like '@Gender diversity supporter' above, choose deliberately to be blinkered and refuse to engage in a conversation that twerking might be seen by many as sexual, provocative and a bit amusing. 

They aggressively defend their view that twerking is purely an act of empowerment that can't be laughed at and anyone who questions this is immediately shot down for being a misogynist. Having to pander to their wishes has resulted in Niall looking completely foolish in sending out this ridiculous email about twerking to the firm. Good luck to Niall dealing with this. Rather him, than me.

Others at IM share my view and are fed up with this nonsense.

Confessions of a Fuddy Duddy Lawyer 04 July 20 19:36

Have to admit I didn't have the foggiest what a twerk was before reading this article. I Googled it and, good Lord, instantly had to reposition my computer so the wife couldn't see the bottoms wiggling, before continuing my research.

I was not previously familiar with the oeuvre of Ms Minaj, but now I have seen her twerk, I conclude that @Gender Diversity Supporter at IM is deluded to suggest there is nowt remotely "sexual or funny" about twerking. It clearly ticked both boxes simultaneously.

Lydia 05 July 20 17:35

Next week it will be pole dancing - this time in tight, not loose shorts (and topless of course)......

Who would have thought these kinds of things were bad ideas?

They should stick to teaching people to sing Bach Cantatas... or even better - stick to law.

Gender diversity supporter 06 July 20 09:58

Lydia, you obviously have no idea about twerking or its culture.

Well done for being outraged at women who decide to twerk or pole dance. Clearly you should be the one to decide what other women wear and do with their bodies to empower themselves!

Anonymous 06 July 20 13:24

LOL at @Gender diversity supporter muddling up women's rights with issues as to what's appropriate for law firm zoom calls.

Difficult to be a modern day Emmeline Pankhurst when your cause is twerking at a law firm! 

Anonymous 06 July 20 20:59

Well, this comes as a disappointment to everyone who (with ample justification, to be fair) thought the management at Irwin Mitchell couldn't find its arse with both hands.

Anonymous 06 July 20 21:13

IM shed another partner last week - one who did holiday sickness/accident claims out of Birmingham. I wonder if he slipped on the bottom stair, fell with a theatrical flourish, cried out in anguish and claimed hundreds of thousands for a life-changing sprained ankle.

But partners are two a penny in the rapidly revolving doors of of IM these days.

Anon 07 July 20 07:01

They put their names to emails that other groups write ? Can’t imagine he did this Personally but guilty of letting the IM machine do it’s thing in his name. Agree with 1st comment that he’s a decent guy and doesn’t deserve this. 

Anon 07 July 20 09:45

No fan of Niall, but he is getting unfair flack for this. The event was organised by the firm’s diversity group, not the firm‘s senior management. Niall did them a favour by sending an email out on their behalf as they were struggling to get sign ups (surprise surprise). It was predominantly poor judgment by that group.
 

The poor judgment here by Niall here was Niall not realising that it was inappropriate, but to be honest he probably didn’t know what twerking is (not sure many of his age would) and wrongly assumed that group had some sense!

Anonymous 07 July 20 11:52

Re Anonymous 06 July 20 21:13: Glad you find someone losing their job in the current climate funny. It's easy to poke fun at Irwin Mitchell. They make it easy sometimes. However this partner and others shown the door are people, probably with families. Criticising the hopeless management team is one thing. Attacking people who have lost their jobs and the work they do? Poor form.

Anon 07 July 20 20:38

I am sure Niall Baker would have been slaughtered if he said "No" to this, and I am sure he would have challenged it. This isn't about Niall Baker, it's an IM problem. This diversity group or panel should be hanging their heads in shame - poor and in appropriate idea in my view. They need to learn from it. Earlier age / dinasour comments not relevant. Lazy generalisation by people who should know better.  Some good and fair points on here but just because I m over 40, white, slightly over weight ... , doesnt make me a dinosaur and doesnt mean I cannot understand and do not embrace diversity in my day to day life. 

Flabber is Gasted 08 July 20 09:09

 A dance move which is largley associated with the objectification and exploitation of women being used to raise money for domestic violence?  Are the bods at IM deciding strategy based on a game of Cards Against Humanity?

Anonymous 08 July 20 11:04

Agree with @Anon 7 July 20.38 - the diversity group should be hanging their heads in shame as Niall is the one left carrying the can.
While I feel for Niall - the lesson for management is that if you put your name to a foolish idea, then you will be made to look a fool.

Anonymous 08 July 20 16:13

Irwin Mitchell's PR/marketing team missed an opportunity to own this. They should have capitalised on the exposure and got Niall to do a solo twerk for charity. Everyone would have got behind that (pardon the pun).

Martin 08 July 20 21:37

Some people on here really need to grow up and get a life. People are dying round the world and there are 80 comments about Twerking. Get a grip who actually cares. Mugs

M 09 July 20 21:30

Wow so much hatred against IM! It doesn’t always get things right but at least it gives things a go. I work there and a departing partner once told me he enjoyed having a few drinks and posting repeated comments about how shit IM was. Whenever I see the really bitter ones on here I think of him. (That you, J?)

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