This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish.

A story about lawyers and law firms

join the conversation, learn and share


Episode 3 - The Office Party - post mortem

The Office Party - post mortem

Scene – Natasha’s office at LB Law – four days after an office party

“Hi Arun are you free?” Natasha may have sounded eager, but this was a conversation that she definitely wasn’t look forward to.

“I’ll be along in 10” Arun, LB Law’s COO replied “Is this about the office party?”

“Yes - and the sooner we do the post-mortem the better I think”

“Post-mortem? I know I left a bit early …. but no one actually died did they?”

“Ha! See you in 10”

In what she did appreciate were her particularly grumpy moments, Natasha often thought that if as much effort and energy went into the average business development initiative as was applied to the firm’s festive bash we’d all be a lot better off.

But then her mind then drifted back to the standing ovation and weeks of gushing feedback she had received for her (vodka enhanced) Beyoncé karaoke moment two years ago and of course her slightly close encounter with Jess the leather-trousered paralegal a few years before that. Her pleasant reverie was interrupted by Arun stepping through her door, sitting down and then getting up again to shut the door.

“So where do we start Arun? We have obviously got the Jack/Carrie issue and more importantly Mark is still very upset and I don’t blame him. Anything else?”

“I heard there was also a Jack/Debs issue, but anyway, yes, I agree about Mark and then of course there’s Trudi and the issue of our amazing IT deal”. Natasha didn’t like the way Arun was counting off the “issues” on the fingers of his hand. She hoped he would only need one hand.

“Ok so let’s start with Mark” Natasha interrupted briskly, “At least Steph and Dan have apologised and I’m sure they mean it.”

Steph and Dan had been on stage doing their comedy stand-up routine and yes, they had checked and been told it was ok “to have a bit of a go” at some people in the firm (including her) … otherwise “what’s the point” as they put it.

The remark about Mark and his desperate need for publicity by “hanging out with the celebs at The Priory” had obviously been unscripted. And was partly provoked by Mark’s heckling from the floor. But the fact that Mark had spent two weeks at The Priory was not common knowledge and the reasons not disclosed. The official line was that he had simply had two week’s holiday. When all the eyes in the room swivelled towards Mark it had been uncomfortable in the extreme.

“Exactly who have Steph and Dan apologised to and what did they actually say?” Arun asked.

“To me” Natasha replied, “because Mark hasn’t been around since and that they thought it was common knowledge - and that they had heard tales of Mark bragging about how friendly he had got with some C-list soap star who was in rehab at The Priory. And I have heard the same rumour, but even so you can’t use mental health problems for comedy material ….. can you?”. Natasha felt she was getting way out of her comfort zone.

“No you can’t. They need to apologise to him and make a public statement to the firm”. Arun sounded as confident and sensible as usual. Natasha sighed as her mobile buzzed impatiently. “Ok Arun, thanks and let me think about it and we’ll need to talk about the rest another time.”

Have your say

How is Natasha handling this and what is the right way ahead?

How is Natasha handling this and what is the right way ahead?

No answer selected. Please try again.
Please select either existing option or enter your own, however not both.
Please select minimum 0 answer(s) and maximum 2 answer(s).
[{"id":"20","title":"This is all getting out of hand with calls for more apologies and formal statements \u2013 it was just a joke and it sounds like Mark was significantly to blame. Just chill.","votes":"2","type":"x","order":"1","pct":13.3300000000000000710542735760100185871124267578125,"resources":[]},{"id":"21","title":"This should be treated seriously. Mental health or whatever other condition leads to someone being hospitalised is not a joking matter. There need to be further steps with Steph and Dan.","votes":"13","type":"x","order":"2","pct":86.6700000000000017053025658242404460906982421875,"resources":[]}] ["#ff5b00","#4ac0f2","#b80028","#eef66c","#60bb22","#b96a9a","#62c2cc"] ["rgba(255,91,0,0.7)","rgba(74,192,242,0.7)","rgba(184,0,40,0.7)","rgba(238,246,108,0.7)","rgba(96,187,34,0.7)","rgba(185,106,154,0.7)","rgba(98,194,204,0.7)"] 350
bottom 200

Have you had any firm event dramas or dilemmas? Have there ever been issues around the disclosure of personal information about people in your firm?

Add your name and any contact details to your comment if you want.  Otherwise it will be anonymous.



# Simon McCall 2016-12-08 16:15
My office party tomorrow - dreading it!
# Simon McCall 2016-12-11 13:28
Interesing stuff in resources on office parties .... gets you thinking about the options
# Simon McCall 2016-12-30 10:46
Our party postponed till January. Actually looking forward to it now!
# Lise Seager 2017-01-03 12:03
Back in the office today. Suspect HR will be having one or two meetings after our office party even though they sent out a really good email before the party reminding people about the do's and don'ts. Sadly some people chose to ignore it.
I enjoy a good party, but I will avoid the office one next year.
Good luck to the person with the party coming up now - perhaps it will be better outside the festive season - will be interested to know.
# Mac Mackay 2017-01-23 16:00
In my humble experience, few can define the 13 protected characteristics of people where it is not permitted for anyone to be discriminatory. Training folk so that they know them is far cheaper than an employment tribunal.
# Simon McCall 2017-01-23 16:28
Sounds interesting - but what are those "13 protected characteristics". I'm guessing - religion, sexuality and others ????

Please sign in/register to post a comment