They say that the deepest bonds are forged in the crucible of suffering. Well, TSMP tested that theory by inflicting the partners' singing on the lawyers during our annual off-site training trip, this time to Osaka.

Built around the theme "Playing to Win", TSMP's training programme this year comprised a gruelling 2 days of intensive discussions on firm strategy and vision, the latest developments in the legal industry and soft skills training. This year also saw the inauguration of Pitch Perfect – a championship to test the marketing skills and outside-the-box thinking of our lawyers. The trophy was taken home this year by the motley team of Francesca Li, Jeff Liu and trainee solicitor Nadia Samdin, who had the foresight to don Facebook T-shirts for their elevator pitch to Mark Zuckerberg.

The dinners were no less instructive, with associates turning their piercing eyes on the partners and making them answer tough recruitment interview questions (Why are Captain America and Ben Bernanke similar?). And the two hour closing dinner must have felt interminable as partners mangled Chinese love songs and hits from Queen. No wonder most of those under 40 had to adjourn to a bar for a post-prandial drink, or 5!

As we straggle back to our desks and hit our files with a renewed vigour, it will be on the strength of deeper friendships formed, and the security of knowing that you can always blackmail your team leaders with the video you took of him shouting off-key into a karaoke mike.

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