No alcohol will be served at junior lawyer events this month in support of 'dry January', the Law Society’s Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) has announced.

In healthy drinking guidance published today, the JLD says lawyers and firms have a ‘collective responsibility’ to change drinking habits. ‘As part of dry January and to celebrate the launch of this guidance, the JLD will not be offering alcohol at any of its events during January 2020.’

The guidance adds that junior lawyers and those at recruitment events often ‘feel pressure to consume alcohol to show that they can fit in with the team’ and ‘any pressure from a more senior figure could be construed as workplace bullying’.

In a series of recommendations, the JLD says that firms should re-label work social events to divert the initial perception away from alcohol. It suggests that events currently called ‘drinks’, ‘champagne receptions’ or ‘wine and nibbles’ should instead be called ‘socialising’, ‘networking’, ‘refreshments’ or ‘gatherings’.

It also suggests that firms try activities that do not centre around alcohol, such as ping-pong, quizzes, mixed netball, cake decorating, activity days, tea ceremonies and hat-making.

Alcohol training is also advisable, the JLD states. ‘Training for everyone on the issues associated with alcohol is a great way to communicate the organisation’s message. In a world where we are familiar with books full of policies, a brief handout on the firm’s approach to alcohol, which includes the above strategies, is a great start.’