'They used to queue up to sit on my knee.'

RPC has shelved the firm’s Christmas party, because hybrid working means too many lawyers aren't turning up to events anymore.

“As we kiss goodbye to the Summer holiday season… we start climbing towards Christmas”, management told staff recently. 

“With our July parties still a recent memory for the UK, it’s that time of year when we are starting to think about booking in Christmas celebrations”, continued the email, setting pulses racing in expectation of Xmas excess to rival Axiom Ince, just with less alleged fraud. 

Alas, their hopes of a bacchanalian knees-up were immediately dashed: “and so we wanted to let you know that [the partnership] has decided to forgo the traditional office-wide Christmas parties this year”. 

However, it wasn’t budgetary concerns or the risk of a drunken partner copping off with anything standing upright that led partners to abandon festivities, but the impact of working from home post-pandemic. 

“As the firm has grown and hybrid working has taken hold, it has become increasingly difficult to find venues or dates that suit the majority, at a time of year when calendars are already extremely busy”, explained the firm.

That “has led to a proportional decline in attendance at recent parties, as well as higher levels of non-attendance on the day”.

It’s a sad indictment of private practice if lawyers can’t be bothered to party together, particularly at a firm which has been rated so highly for its culture by its staff in the past.

A lawyer at the firm reckoned the reasons given were “nonsensical”, they told ROF, although proponents of greater in-person working have argued that, among other drawbacks, too much WFH isn’t conducive to team-building.

Some firms, particularly in the US, have sought to row back towards 100% office attendance, while others have sought to make permanent a hybrid solution that captures the best of both worlds. The widespread adoption of homeworking has been a revelation to many, bringing undreamed-of flexibility and much-improved work/life balance.

RPC hasn’t gone full Grinch, though. Management reminded staff that “many of you are already using your team entertainment budgets and have planned Christmas team celebrations”. Hopefully not to be held on Zoom.

A spokesperson for RPC said, "We pride ourselves on our culture at RPC, a culture that's built on connections and trust – even in a post-pandemic world".

"Collaboration is one of our values and there are a variety of ways that we bring our people together in the office to connect with each other across teams and practices. Which is why we're comfortable in our decision to forgo office-wide UK Christmas parties in favour of team level get togethers – especially considering as we've grown it's increasingly harder to find venues and dates which suit the majority." 

"We also believe there is merit in smaller, more intimate gatherings to celebrate team successes and achievements", they added.

Has your firm cited WFH as a reason to slash the big events? And is WFH helping or harming your firm’s culture? Let ROF know.

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Anonymous 08 September 23 09:14

Hogan Lovells puts on a family Christmas party with shows for the kids of all staff at all levels. RPC is just a [] sandwich.

Anonymous 08 September 23 09:18

I have sympathy for RPC. You give your staff flex, then they don't turn up to stuff..what are you meant to do, waste a massive deposit and venue hire when only the keen beans in Zone 1 show up?


Anonymous 08 September 23 09:19

I can see where this is all going. The f****ing metaverse.

Damn you zuckerbeeeeerg!

RPCer 08 September 23 09:20

This is just budget cutting plain and simple, along with not giving people real terms pay rises and keeping the NQ rate at a derisory 85k.

Nonnymouse 08 September 23 09:25

Another consequence of the wfh experiment. Glad I’m not a junior lawyer these days - dull af.

Smell the coffee 08 September 23 09:27

Real-terms pay rises when inflation is double figures? Not sure that would put any firm on the fast track to commercial success

That said, I do love a Xmas party

bananaman 08 September 23 09:31

This is indicative of cut price shit that isn't worth going to. Witness pre-pandemic pleas for people to come to client drinks in the board room or go bowling. As far back as the 2000s I moved from a firm that had great black tie Xmas parties in flash hotels all inclusive silver service dinner and drinks that everyone went to and was a three line whip for the partners, to a firm that hired out whatever space was cheap, restricted drinks choices and offered nibbles, with barely a partner in sight, so hardly anyone went that earned enough to make walking 20 minutes for some free beer worthwhile. 

The UK is going into a recession, so firms will start cutting whatever they can but putting some BS excuse up. 

Ravey davey 08 September 23 09:39

Soon no-one will expect a firm party. The kids went through uni/law school in covid, they graduated standing 10m apart. They’ve been trained not to party. The oldies are happy at home. It’s only a band of pure raging party animals aged 28-38 who want the good times. 

RPC Employee 08 September 23 09:48

Loads of people attended the Xmas party last this so this is a load of rubbish.

Anonymous Anonymous 08 September 23 09:49

Drunk legal professionals at christmas parties gives a bad impressed on the legal industry.  Why not go to a circus instead?

Anonymous 08 September 23 10:20

My sympathies are with RPC here...the alternative solution would have been to make it compulsory for everyone to go to the Christmas party, which seems worse...the whole firm Christmas party has always seemed a bit of a waste of money to me, most of the firms I've been at haven't bothered with's better that way. And I know what these cost- there are much better ways to use a budget to make staff feel valued rather than one overpriced party a year.

Anonymous 08 September 23 10:51

Kevin Costner 08 September 23 10:00

If you build it they will come. 

Pornhub approves of this message

Really? 08 September 23 11:26

The entitled attitude of certain NQs complaining about only being paid 85k actually makes me feel sick. 

Anonymous 08 September 23 11:52

"Drunk legal professionals at christmas parties gives a bad impressed on the legal industry."

Sounds like you didn't even have to go to the party...

Anonymous 08 September 23 12:07

To paraphrase the poets Messrs 'Beatie Boys'

"One's gotta fight for one's right to party!"

Rural 08 September 23 15:11

For those speculating that the money is better put to use elsewhere... I can tell you that it isn't.  Very poor pay increases in the summer.  Massive salary bunching.  RPC is just plain cheap.

Anonymous 08 September 23 15:13

"a band of pure raging party animals aged 28-38 who want the good times"

Sign me up.

That's basically the spec I put into so it sounds like a great night.

Getagripe 09 September 23 08:13

WFH of itself doesn’t stop people attending events. Keystone lawyers pretty much all work remotely, and their events are extremely well-attended. Perhaps the difference is the quality of event? 

Let them eat cake (but not at a Christmas party) 10 September 23 11:31

Christmas parties are too risky for law firms.  It’s too difficult to hush things up and there’s always the risk of such antics making the tabloids.

Also, the money is better off being distributed to the equity partners who will use it wisely, building extensions or installing new kitchens, thereby re-distributing the wealth. 

Anon 10 September 23 21:41

Given that every other firm in the city and regions can manage to hold social events which are reasonably well attended, it says an awful lot about the type of culture, morale and feeling of inclusivity at this particular firm that the Christmas party is cancelled.  No doubt the equivalent costs per head will be paid to everyone in the firm by way of a Christmas bonus?  

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