Despite Wildfire Tragedy, International Law Firm Decides To Hold Hawaiian-Themed Party

The firm is donating to the Wildfire Relief Fund -- it's the very least they can do.


(Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

The scope of the Hawaiian wildfire tragedy continues to grow, with 114 confirmed dead and 850 still missing. Given the loss and devastation, it’s never been more vital to see Maui and the entirety of Hawai’i as more than just a tropical locale for tourists to frolic. Real people, not just some caricature of a vacation hot spot, are the ones suffering right now.

Against this backdrop, Addleshaw Goddard, a global law firm with 1,400 lawyers that’s headquartered in London, is holding a Hawai’i-themed party. In a baffling revelation, the firm told Roll on Friday they thought about seeming insensitive for using Hawaiian identity for their fun times in the face of human suffering, but ultimately gave it a big shoulder shrug and plowed on with their good time:

“In light of the terrible events in Hawaii we of course considered cancelling or trying to re-brand the event”, said the firm, “but decided after great thought and some consultation to go ahead explaining to staff earlier this week that it was not a thoughtless and insensitive decision but one to which we have given considerable thought”.

It’s just… so close to seeing the point, but ultimately it’s a swing and a miss.

The firm did note they’re holding a fundraiser to benefit relief efforts:

“Our thoughts are of course with the people of Maui”, said the firm, and now “a charity raffle will run on the evening with proceeds going to the Hawaii Wildfire Relief Fund and the Addleshaw Goddard Trust has also agreed to match fund”.


Obviously the donation is welcome, but you can’t just write a check and get away with bad taste. The firm denies that employees complained about the inappropriateness of the themed event, saying, “As far as we know, there have been no protestations from staff, certainly none have come to the attention of our senior leadership team.”

But the firm put “great thought” into the event and *still* decided to go with the Hawai’i theme. No one is objecting to a firm party, but out of respect for those dead, injured, and missing, put away the leis and grass skirts. That’s just unnecessary. You can — and should — still donate to the relief effort but opting for a different theme would seem the prudent way forward.

Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter @Kathryn1 or Mastodon