Exclusive: A&O lawyers forced to hand in receipts after nicking food
23 March 2012
Lawyers at Allen & Overy's
London office have complained bitterly after the firm insisted that late night meals must be taken in the office - and signed for.
Lawyers who work late into the evening used to be able to get whatever food they wanted from outside the office, or pick up food without handing over any cash from the firm's restaurant. But the firm has now insisted that all food has to be bought internally, and that lawyers have to pay for it up front and then reclaim the money. For good measure, a £10 cap has been introduced too.
One insider complains that this is "no doubt as a result of a backroom kickback deal
with the firm's catering contractor and complains of an "arcane
" system of having to pay for dinner with cash, get a receipt and then submit a claim for reimbursement. But other sources have told RollOnFriday that the system was introduced to clamp down on rampant abuse. Apparently some lawyers were loading up with 15 Mars bars and five cans of Coke for the week, while others were hanging around the office after finishing their work for the day in order to get a free meal. The firm apparently feels that they'll be less inclined to do so if someone has to sign off on their receipts.
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A spokesman for the firm said that "our overtime meals policy has been in place for eight years now but we have recently changed the claims process. We have a very nice restaurant which serves a wide variety of good quality and healthy food. It's convenient and costs less than it would elsewhere, which is a key consideration when charging those costs back to clients. That said £10 at our staff restaurant will ensure associates get a three course meal and drink