The World Cup is almost here. So it’s time for PR people to indulge in some footie puns.
And so the World Cup is almost upon us. Obiter has drawn Honduras in the office sweepstake and has cancelled all meetings after 5pm.
This, of course, is also the season for public relations people to tell us their law firm employs a receptionist called Rooney or Hodgson, or that an office has been transformed into a shrine to James Milner (a well-known footballer, m’lud). There will usually be a guide to keeping staff happy during the tournament – hats off to top-50 firm Mills & Reeve for getting its advice to us before anyone else.
Meanwhile, however, through the fog of PR guff, an interesting tale emerges from recruiter Laurence Simons: UK law firms have been drawn to Brazil since the Samba nation won the right to host the World Cup. Indeed, seven of the top-20 UK firms now have an office in Brazil, compared with just three in 2007.
Obiter suspects there is more to this trend than the prospect of some free tickets, but it’s heartening to think that, even once England’s early exit is confirmed, this country will have a lasting presence in Brazil.
Our family lawyers, meanwhile, have done us proud. Days before the first whistle blows, the National Family Mediation Service has put out a press release with more footie puns than you could blow a vuvuzela at.
Chief executive Jane Robey cheerily points out: ‘Wall-to-wall World Cup football will provoke arguments that prove the final straw for some severely strained relationships.’
She urges divorcing couples to ‘avoid extra time’ wasted due to the huge delays in the family court system by solving their disputes through mediation, which provides a better settlement than when the ‘full-time whistle blows’ in court.
Straining to continue the footballing allusions, Robey attempts to illustrate the scale of the problem for children caught up in divorce. ‘You could fill Rio’s Maracanã Stadium almost twice over with under-16s in England and Wales who are newly affected by divorce each and every year.’
Obiter hopes the football distracts the kids from their family situation, but wonders who will pay their air fare.