YLS Newsletter

Morgan MurphyYoung Lawyers' Guide to Holiday Events

by Morgan Murphy
Brown & James, P.C., St. Louis

It’s that time of the year again. Red, green, and metallic invitations are drifting into your office and email inboxes. The first invitation brings a sense of excitement, but as they accumulate and your calendar loses blank space during your December weeknights, the excitement wanes. Holiday parties are fun—but too many events make the entire month feel like more of an obligation than a seasonal celebration. However, a young lawyer must remember that holiday parties are not just about the cocktail dresses, red and green ties, and hot hors d’oeuvres. Below are a few tips for managing and making the most of your December calendar this year.

Attend at least one event where you will be out of your comfort zone. It’s easy to go to the event where you know everybody and can relax and chat with old friends. But holiday parties are also a great opportunity to meet new people and reconnect with organizations in which you have been less involved. If you are paying dues to a bar association but don’t know what the organization does, attend their holiday event and make a point to speak to officers or involved members who can tell you what the organization does. When meeting new people, you should ask for their business cards, and not gratuitously provide yours.

Don’t be the first person, or the last person, to leave. Try to do more than just make an appearance; meet a couple of new people and take a moment to reconnect with those you have not seen in a while. On the other hand, don’t be the person exhausting the bar tab. Even though most of the December events are deemed “parties,” they are still professional events. Especially as a young lawyer making a new impression on a group of established attorneys, you should be cognizant of your behavior and your goals in attending the events.

It’s usually okay to bring a friend or significant other—but check the invitation/website or ask others who have attended the event in previous years. Some events are for dues-paying members or by invitation only, and you should not take it for granted that your guest will always be welcome.  Don’t forget to always thank the host/president/managing partner. Even if you are a dues paying member of an organization, organizing holiday events can be a time-consuming and exhausting process and you should acknowledge those who went to the effort of making it happen.

Aside from the fact that holiday parties are a good time, they are a great way to meet other attorneys, which can lead to referrals, assistance with future career moves, and better professional working relationships with coworkers or even opposing counsel. Enjoy the holiday season, meet some new people, have fun and be safe!