the outlook for holiday parties.jpgA couple of weeks ago, we asked if deferred associates should be invited to the firm holiday party. I argued that although these deferred associates were not employees of the firm, a holiday invite would be a nice gesture.

Roughly 60% of ATL voters agreed. We don’t know how many firms are paying attention, but hopefully some of them will extend a courtesy invitation to their incoming class.

Today, we have an entirely different question. Former Morgan Lewis & Bockius associates received the firm’s “alumni” packet. The laid-off associates we spoke with were not that thrilled:

Some people might consider this a “nice” gesture. Me, I think it’s pure douchery. I was laid off from Morgan Lewis back in March. Today, I got an invitation to their December holiday party. Seriously? I mean, I still have some friends there, but do the partners who fired me really think I want to rub elbows & pretend to be friendly with them one more time?

Not only that, the invitation is merely the first paragraph of an extremely long (eight-page!) letter celebrating the firm’s glories over the past year. And I am assured that “we are fortunate to have the firm’s unwavering culture of service fueling our relationships with clients and in the community.” Wow, thanks.

– Former MLB Associate

Morgan Lewis laid off 216 people back in March: 55 attorneys and 161 staffers. So there are a lot of former-MLB people out there who do not think the past year was all that successful.

Despite the carnage, Morgan Lewis is still treating these former employees as alumni of the firm. A Morgan Lewis spokesperson confirms that the holiday invitation was not a glitch….

Morgan Lewis.JPGSome former associates just didn’t believe MLB was intentionally inviting laid-off attorneys to the holiday party:

I arrived back at my apartment after Thanksgiving to find a letter from my former employer – Morgan Lewis. It was thick so I thought maybe they were going to give me more information about COBRA. Nope.

I got an “alumni” newsletter. I read, in detail, how well the firm … is doing. All the great people who were hired in the past year and all the fabulous decisions, settlements, etc., the firm received.

And I got an invite to the Holiday party.

You have GOT to be kidding me. I think someone in HR screwed up big. I don’t think any firm considers associates they “laid off” as alumni. I mean – do they really want me showing up? I don’t think so.

Maybe they do want people showing up? According to a spokesperson for Morgan Lewis:

It has been a tradition at Morgan Lewis to invite firm alumni to our holiday parties each year.

Perhaps the firm is just trying to be nice to its former employees. Some of the people Morgan Lewis let go will land on their feet; maybe this is just the firm’s way of trying to maintain future business relationships? Life is long.

But would you go to the holiday party of the firm that fired you? On the one hand, it could be a good networking opportunity, as well as the chance to see old friends. On the other hand, it could be AWK-ward.

It’s definitely time for another reader poll:

Earlier: Holiday Party Invites: Are Deferred Associates on the List?
Nationwide Layoff Watch: Morgan Lewis Lays off 216


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