BY Michael Fleming

DATE: 25 SEP 2011


Now I’d like to think that I’m open to new experiences, but I found myself somewhat taken aback recently when I found myself one lunchtime in the offices of a very large and well known global professional services firm being handed a brown paper envelope stuffed with cash!

I’d survived 17 years of private practice as a litigator without ever experiencing the offer of a bung and now five years after leaving partnership in a law firm here it was happening to me!

I should perhaps explain the background to this. I was at the firm’s London office delivering some business development skills training and the delegates had scampered back to their Blackberries for the lunch break.  A lovely young chap from the firm’s Learning & Development team wandered in to check how things were going.  All perfectly normal so far.  And then he whipped out a brown paper envelope and surreptitiously slipped it to me with a nod and a wink saying “this is for you Michael” before heading off with his cattle prod to try to round up some more delegates for another training course running elsewhere in the firm that afternoon.

And on opening the envelope I discovered it really was stuffed with cash!  Now in fairness when I say “stuffed” and at the risk of embarrassing the giver of the bung if he’s reading this (I will of course protect his identity) I am rather stretching the meaning of the word “stuffed”!

All became clear when I looked at the note accompanying the cash inside.  “For trainer’s lunch”.

I have in the past experienced many different approaches to lunch.  Sometimes nothing at all is arranged and I am left to fend for myself and go foraging for sustenance in local sandwich shops.  Sometimes the most wonderful slap up meal is arranged for everyone attending the session and I am exceptionally well fed.  Occasionally I am given a swipe card for the firm’s in-house restaurant (I can think of one firm in particular where this is wonderful because the food is fantastic).  And I do have one law firm client where I feel like royalty (their chef used to cook for a former Prime Minister so he’s pretty good) and am brought my own personal cheeseboard, a selection of wonderful canapés, and a platter of exotic fruits!

But a tired old banknote in an envelope? that's a first, though it did get me a nectarine; falaffel sandwiches; crisps and an apple juice from PRET!

Funny old life this travelling trainer business.


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about the author

Michael Fleming is our Head of KWC Legal. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop him an email and we will be in touch.

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