No, I'm not kidding. Think about the traits you most commonly associate with lawyers: precision, analytical thinking, perspicacity, pragmatism, time management, and a bit of creative flair. Funnily enough, those are just the things you need to be good at baking. And if baking ability be the measure of a lawyer's skill then step aside, Alicia Florrick and Kavanagh QC, because Morton Fraser clearly has some of the best (or, at least, the most enthusiastic) lawyers around.As well as the usual birthday/holiday/anniversary etc. treats, staff at Morton Fraser have a commendable habit of trying to fatten one another up throughout the year; one which we often put to good use to raise some pennies for charity - from the Glasgow office's Red Nose Day efforts to the Great MF Bake-Off being organised as a charity contest between divisions. Obviously it's all in good fun - although if anyone else in Litigation is reading this, please note that we will not be coming second.
Of course birthdays remain the principal reason for the ubiquity of confectionery spread around the printers and kitchen areas of the office. At the firm's AGM in June, a new policy was announced to give people the day off if their birthday fell on a work day, which sent many into a panic that the well of cake would run dry; fortunately, this has not been the case.
I was able to take advantage of this inspired new policy last week when I turned… a year older than I was before. Although you're no doubt imagining the hijinks and hedonism of Ferris Bueller's famous Day Off, to be honest it was less Matthew Broderick and more Matthew Crawley, spent catching up on my Downton Abbey boxset before the start of the next series, and making Empire Biscuits to take in for the Family team the next day. But sometimes it's nice to have a personal day.
The biscuits of course employed all of the many and varied lawyerly abilities that it takes to be a Morton Fraser trainee: precision in measurement, careful time management, analysing the consistency of the mixture, and more broadly the Knowing Your Client principle we use to think about what their needs are and what they'll want from you. Having only started in Family a couple of weeks ago, I didn't know quite what their tastes would be, so Empire Biscuits seemed a safe choice; who doesn't like an Empire Biscuit?! I even had a fun fact up my sleeve so I could casually demonstrate my depth of knowledge: that they were known as German Biscuits prior to the War, when their name was changed to avoid unwelcome association. And the creative flair? Well, I like to think that the non-uniform shape showed creativity and freedom of spirit, although I think Mary Berry would just have told me off for not having a cake cutter.
Birthdays aside, baking might even be the best way to get ahead in your career: a recent poll found that a quarter of office workers had brought in home-baking in order to gain favour with managers. Ineptitude in the kitchen doesn't even seem to be a barrier, as a fifth admitted trying to pass off shop-bought cake as their own (although one in ten said they had been caught). Unfortunately, one in ten over-45s said they had brought cake into work not to advance their career but to find a romantic partner; I can't pretend I hadn't thought about that aspect of it too.
So, you're six hundred words in and still not convinced? Well, whenever I bring anything in for the Family team, I also have a separate tin next to my desk for the other trainees to come by and sample from, which is always wildly overstocked and an excellent excuse to sit and eat cake all day. And surely that's what we're all looking for in life?