updated on 24 May 2022
I want to network with my colleagues but I don’t want to drink alcohol – what do I do?
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It can be tempting to avoid attending work socials because of the strong drinking culture but don’t let this cloud your mission to network and meet people inside and outside of your department.
Networking is a key skill that aspiring lawyers and lawyers always must exercise. You network to secure a training contract and even after you’ve secured it, you must attend client lunches or after work socials and drinks.
Read this LCN Feature to discover how to get the most out of networking: ‘LawCareers.Net guide to networking’.
The drinking culture is prominent in most law firms unfortunately, so it’s worth requesting that non-alcoholic drinks are available beforehand. You can do this by reaching out to your supervisor or a manager who should be able to arrange this for you (as you’ll certainly not be the only one that won’t be drinking!).
When you’re at the social event, (it might sound silly) but try not to focus on the alcohol around you and instead focus on getting the information you need from the people in attendance. You can see it as a mission. Don’t ever feel pressurised whatsoever to drink alcohol just because everyone else is.
Maab Saifeldin, Flex Legal trainee solicitor who is currently on an in-house secondment, says: “If you don’t feel comfortable attending an event that serves alcohol and there’s somebody important that you’d like to speak to, you can reach out to them on LinkedIn. Simply explain how you weren’t able to attend the event due to religious reasons however you’re keen to get to know them and suggest meeting up over a coffee.”
Offering non-alcoholic drinks creates a more inclusive environment and communicates to attendees and employees that their experience with the firm is important because it ensures everyone is catered for. Firms should hopefully be happy to accommodate you and your requests to to ensure you feel at ease at such events. It’s imperative that a firm’s culture is inclusive and welcoming to all employees, and not just the majority.
To find out how law firms and employers can support Muslims during Ramadan, read this LCN Feature: ‘Ramadan: how law firms can support their employees’.