Depressing news reaches Obiter on the health of our leading law firms as Athenian-style democracies.

Partnerships, we tend to think, are bound not just by a shared commitment to commercial success but also by culture, traditions – and of course lunch.

A thumbs-down, then, for the pall some partners charged with managing ‘risk’ are casting over the lunch bit of the Acropolis routine.

One friend told Obiter of a terrible situation that had been allowed to develop at a firm they have, understandably, now left. ‘At partners’ lunch, there was always a bottle of wine placed in the middle of the table, but it was rarely touched,’ they lament. ‘When most were seated, the risk and compliance partner entered and noticeably scowled down the table to see if any partners were drinking, before sitting down.’

Occasional relief was at hand though. ‘On one occasion a partner from the Paris office was over and, knowing no better, opened the bottle and started filling glasses.’

To which Obiter says Santé et merci.