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Mastering Your Law Firm’s Happy Hour

In past decades, indulging with your coworkers in an alcoholic beverage was not a big deal. There were beer and cocktails for all occasions from birthdays to promotions to just having fun. In recent times, having a drink or two with you fellow attorneys is not taboo, but you still want to maintain your professionalism. Here are some tips to help you master your after-work happy hours:

Encourage yourself to be social. After working long hours at the firm, sometimes the only thing you want to do is go home, get in your pajamas, and fall asleep. While you are sleeping, your coworkers are bonding with one another, and catching up on their personal lives, ideas, and thoughts. It’s okay to skip a happy hour event, but to stay in the loop with your coworkers and build stronger relationships, attend an event here or there.

Don’t order your favorite drink or cocktail. As much as you love your favorite go-to drink, it may cause you to over-indulge. Since you like it so much, you may not notice how quickly you are drinking, and end up much more intoxicated than you intended. Instead, order something you like less so you will be more likely to sip rather than guzzle.

A very important piece of advice is to avoid gossiping. Drinking with your law firm buddies can create a sense of false camaraderie, and you (or someone else) may begin to gossip about others. If you find yourself in this situation, try to steer the conversation elsewhere, or leave the group. No one wants to be caught saying something they did not mean once the next work day comes around.

In addition to gossip, avoid talking about work also. Happy hour is a time to catch up with your coworkers on a more personal level. Talking about work is a good way to start off the night, and a gateway to other conversations also. However, work topics should end after some time.  Lawyers work hard enough, so keep the work conversations at the firm.

Set a time to leave. Generally, you don’t want to be the first one to leave (the party pooper) or the last (the wild one). Find a good in-between time to excuse yourself, say your goodbyes, and head home. A good way to make sure you don’t overstay is to make plans with your significant other or friends that evening, and you will be more apt to pay attention to the time.

Finally, don’t drink and drive. Nothing is worse than getting a DUI when it can be completely avoided. After two or three drinks, you may feel fine when you are not. To be safe, call a car service, taxi, or friend/relative to take you home. You can even get ride with a coworker. It’s always best to set a good example, and keep an eye out for your coworkers too. It may feel weird taking away someone’s keys, but they will thank you in the long run.

Having happy hour outings with your law firm is a nice way to relax with the people you work with and bond. You may learn something new about those you work with that you might not have found out while sitting in your office. You can suggest non-alcoholic outings for team building, such as bowling, yoga or hiking. Overall, the most important rule to follow while at your firm’s happy hour is to be responsible, don’t over-indulge, and don’t partake in workplace gossip. If you keep this in mind, you can become a master at company happy hour events.

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