It was just another day at Shearman & Sterling. Daniel England, a British trainee lawyer based out of the firm’s Singapore office, took a break from whatever thrilling piece of work he was doing to email his friends about their forthcoming vacation in Dubai.
Being a rules-obsessed lawyer, he included a list of “do’s and don’ts” for the group — two of whom work in London’s financial district, the City — to follow on the trip. A few days later, the poor fellow found the email plastered across the British press.
“‘Cheating on our girls is allowed… We must boast about how rich we are': City boys are ruled offside after rugby tour ‘rules’ email goes viral,” bellowed the Daily Mail on Thursday.
“For four young City high-fliers, the adage ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour’ has unravelled after a private email with their ‘tour rules’ went viral,” crowed The Telegraph.
Here are those tour rules…
(i) Cheating is allowed;
(ii) No anti-lad behavior allowed (i.e. calling girlfriends, being nice to random expats);
(iii) Everyone has each others backs;
(iv) No stealing ties or light bulbs;
(v) Compulsory gunning of parents affairs;
(vi) Mentioning parents salaries once a day; and
(vii) Being good lads (i.e. getting a round in for England);
(viii) Chants about your surrounding environment, being oily and how rich we are, are compulsory;
(ix) Public school boy 10 minutes (collars must be up) at specified 10 minutes past the hour;
(x) No cameras allowed after sunset, unless it’s an underwater camera or there’s a spit-roast (for evidential purposes);
(xi) high fives (and honey glaze) are obligatory during a spit-roast and after;
(xii) All universal consumption laws will be in effect throughout the duration of the tour; and
(xiii) At least one ‘Silly 5′ at the bar per night. All G4 members must go to the closest bar and get loose with their credit/debit cards. All drinks purchased to be consumed within the allotted 5 minute time period.
The email also features a biography for each of the four friends on the trip –- who refer to themselves collectively as “G4″. England’s reads as follows:
“Daniel is successful lawyer at Shearman & Sterling LLP. He attended University College London where he obtained First Class Honours. At University he was also a member 2nd XV Rugby Team and the Law Society. Before this he attended City of London Freemen’s School where he was Vice Captain of the 1st XV Rugby team and was the youngest player in the School to tour South Africa.
Daniel’s loyalty, honesty and positive attitude bring another dimension to the G4, he rarely puts himself first and can be trusted by all other team members. His whit [sic], intelligence and looks will ensure the G4 socialise with the right people in Dubai – he his definitely one to watch.”
On Friday, I was lucky enough to have someone who knew England from his days at University College London (UCL) as a guest on the weekly podcast I host on LegalCheek.com. He described England as “an outgoing, gregarious, rugby playing type of guy.”
Shearman & Sterling is investigating the affair, having said that it was “disappointed” by England’s behaviour. In a statement, the firm commented: “We are very disappointed to learn of this individual’s behaviour which is totally at odds with the values of Shearman & Sterling. We are taking this matter very seriously and are investigating it in accordance with our established procedures.”
According to Shearman’s website, the firm’s values include “high standards of professionalism” and “believing in unequivocal integrity”. One of the ways it maintains these standards is by conducting compulsory diversity awareness training for all employees, including annual refresher courses featuring actors who role play sensitive incidents which are then discussed. Shearman’s head of HR Lois Gordon told The Lawyer magazine that “it’s quite conceivable that scenario like [the email incident] might be part of one those plays.”
So far, England has been unavailable for comment.
‘Cheating on our girls is allowed… We must boast about how rich we are': City boys are ruled offside after rugby tour ‘rules’ email goes viral [Daily Mail]
City boys’ shame after rugby email goes viral [The Telegraph]
Alex Aldridge is Above the Law’s U.K. correspondent. He also writes a weekly column for The Guardian and is the Editor of Legal Cheek. Previously Alex was Associate Editor of Legal Week, having begun his career with The Times. Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexAldridgeUK or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.