Legal market splits on merits of Valentines Day

Hammonds is courting female clients by inviting them to a Valentine’s Day party at Holts Jewellers in Hatton Garden, London.

Over fifty women attended the event including representatives of Clydesdale Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB, Abbey UK Corporate, Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank, Venture Finance, BDO Stoy Hayward LLP and Deloitte & Touche.

The event saw the group take lessons in how to identify a true diamond and one unnamed participant even walked away with the real thing.

Senior associate Shirley Morgan, who organised the networking evening, rebutted charges that an event for women that centred around expensive jewellery could be seen as sexist: “The indicators were that male lawyers would have liked to have been involved – it has broader appeal,” she said.

Morgan argued that the event was a refreshing alternative to the male-focussed socialising many clients are used to and a new take on the female-only spa retreat.

Meanwhile Baker & McKenzie and Denton Wilde Sapte showed their true colours when several of their lawyers turned up decked in red to mark the lovers’ day.

Both firms were raising money for London’s first children’s hospice Richard House. However, there were limitations to how far legal teams were allowed to go, with a spokesperson at Dentons telling The Lawyer that red hair was definitely a no-go zone.

There was a culinary theme to the way in which many other law firms chose to mark the occasion with Addleshaw Goddard, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters, Lovells, Nabarro and SJ Berwin offering heart-shaped treats in their staff canteens.

Freshfields had two chocolate fountains in the restaurant. Staff can select from a pick-and-mix table which includes strawberries, marshmallows, and other fruit and partake in a little chocolate dipping.

“Looked yummy,” commented a source, who was obviously too busy to sample the delights.

But the fact that the event is known in some quarters as a Hallmark Holiday was not forgotten, with Allen & Overy, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Clifford Chance, Clyde & Co, Herbert Smith, Olswang, Pannone, Taylor Wessing, Thompsons Solicitors and Wragge & Co all refusing to get involved.

Some of these firms were adamant about their reasons for non-committal: “Nothing but a commercial rip-off,” a source at Clyde and Co told The Lawyer, while the sentiment was repeated by a source at Thompsons Solicitors: “Hideous, commercialised nonsense,” they said.