An option for attendees to book seating at an alcohol-free table has seen a legal awards ceremony gain plaudits from thousands of users on LinkedIn.
Hundreds of attendees – both practitioners and suppliers – descend on the ceremony for a night of celebration. However, amongst those attendees are some who choose not to consume alcohol. With drinking being a staple of legal events and networking, this makes it difficult – and often impossible – for those who do not partake.
“The history of traumas & unpleasant experiences of past mainstream networking and industry events from my junior lawyer days is so long it will not fit nor be suitable for social media,” explained Yasmin Hoque, founder of AL-HQ, a faith-inspired law firm offering Islamic and Sharia wills.
Hoque said in 2022 her startup firm managed to gather enough people for half an alcohol-free table, but was told her wishes could be taken into account in future.
This materialised for the British Wills and Probate Awards 2023, with the booking form stating that “alcohol-free tables will be available at this event”.
Hoque took to LinkedIn to share her delight. “This has made my day, my year, my legal career highlight forever more – and that’s just the surface level of how much this means to me,” she wrote in her post which has received nearly 1,500 likes.
“It suddenly felt like I was normal, seen, and heard,” the AL-HQ founder told Today’s Wills and Probate:
“Just to know there would be a space to sit, talk, and eat without questions about not drinking felt like I could celebrate with pride and happiness, which is what I feel an award ceremony should be about.”
Prior to this, Hoque said it was difficult for her firm to participate in work-related activities where the question of whether anything alternative to alcohol was wanted “was never asked or explored”.
“The whole legal profession deserves to be celebrated. However, it’s vital that all voices are heard: inclusivity can only be a good thing,” said Today’s Media’s Head of Events Allie Jones, who was a key driver behind the initiative. She added:
“Subtle changes to the organisation of an event are far from strenuous yet have a monumental impact on those who have previously been made to feel an outsider.
As the event grows, it’s important for us to maintain a personal touch, and that means truly listening to the wishes of our guests.”
Hoque’s full LinkedIn post can be viewed below:
The British Wills and Probate Awards 2023, sponsored by CTT Group, are set to be held at the iconic Kimpton Clocktower Hotel in Manchester on 11th October. Learn more about networking sponsor Exizent, charity partner Macmillan, and book your ticket.