Staff who drink at Linklaters events will be supervised by sober colleagues as part of a new initiative to reduce bad behaviour.

The Magic Circle firm rolled the policy out over Christmas, giving pause to festive lawyers reaching for their sixth grappa.

Under the guidance, partners or other senior members of staff are designated a "non-drinking role" to "assist the smooth running" of social events. "Our people work hard and we recognise the value of teams socialising together to help provide a healthy work-life balance", a spokesman for the firm told RollOnFriday, without mentioning any plans to install holding cells in the basement. 

The firm has good reason to ensure its drinks events don’t spiral out of control - a few years ago one of its German partners sexually assaulted a work experience student at a Linklaters' Oktoberfest party. There was also punching.

Cop pic

"Now walk in a straight line to your desk and finish that research for me".

Links, which is encouraging teams to run events where alcohol is not the focus, is ahead of the curve in keeping tabs on its staff, who are also under an obligation to inform management about office romances.

It comes as firms seek to crack down on inappropriate behaviour, which is frequently fuelled by booze, particularly in light of highly-publicised sexual allegations at Freshfields and Baker McKenzie. Recent measures include fines at Freshfields and a ski trip ban at Slaughter and May

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Angela B 17 January 20 08:52

I actually think this initiative is the most sensible approach I’ve heard so far. There have been calls to ban alcohol from work events and I just don’t think that’s the answer to the issue - bad behaviour will always manifest itself somehow, alcohol or not. I don’t see why all should suffer because a minority can’t hold it together. 

Having people at events to pick up on inappropriate conduct is a good idea, as long as those ‘stewards’ are senior enough/empowered to take on anyone in any position at the firm. What’s more, bad actors shouldn’t be allowed to attend social events again. 

Anon associate 17 January 20 09:12

This is the most ridiculous thing iv seen in a long time. What is the chaperone supposed to do - listen to everyone’s conversation and jump in when it gets what they consider to be “inappropriate”. Are they going to treat the senior partner the same as the NQ? Most of these type of incidents happen at unofficial work events- the after work drinks, the post lunch drinks, the social dinner followed by an unplanned night out - not the firm organised quarterly social which half the office doesn’t go to. People will just ditch the chaperone or leave them out the invite altogether. If the work event stops at 9pm and people go on to a bar is the chaperone going to be the last one left at the end of the night? Completely ridiculous idea and just shows how out of touch law firms are and (just like the diversity narrative) how keen they are to be seen to be doing something without actually doing anything. 

Anonymous 17 January 20 10:05

Some of the worst behaviour I've seen at Links was conducted sober, so this isn't going to help one bit.  Sticking plaster for a broken leg.

Anonymous 17 January 20 10:20

09:12 Anon - Agree completely.  And what happens if the chaperone misses something or doesn't step in? Do they have a duty of care? Are they liable to the victim?

Anonymous 17 January 20 16:16

People should look out for one another without the need for an initiative. There must be some concern as to whether the right sort will be given the role of babysitter/chaperone.

Anonymous 17 January 20 17:12

It's a great idea.  Soon no-one will want to go to office parties.  Think of the money saved.

Anonymous 17 January 20 20:40

Was the bad behaviour conducted while sober of a sexual nature, and was it by a male or female?

Anonymous 20 January 20 08:44

As long as the sober person's word isn't automatically taken as gospel truth, otherwise this role could be excellent camouflage for potential gropers or false accusers. Sober is not the same as honest.

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