Lawyers who tried to attend a public seminar sponsored by CMS were banned by the organisers because they worked for rival firms.
The public seminar, 'Getting Yorkshire’s infrastructure fit for the future', is hosted by Business Desk, a b2b company covering northern England, and involves discussing a report by CMS entitled ‘Bridging Continents’. But some distances are too wide to be spanned, and lawyers from other firms in the region had their requests for tickets rejected.
Business Desk explained to one rebuffed solicitor that it was "unable to accept attendees from organisations who are deemed to be in competition with our sponsor", because CMS had "devoted considerable time and money to the development of the event".
"Try your luck at Mint."
"My colleagues and I were shocked to discover just how scared of the competition CMS are", said a rejected lawyer who tipped off RollOnFriday. Especially since "our office is in Leeds, where the talk is being held - unlike CMS who are in Sheffield... scaredy-cats".
"We also can't figure out if CMS has a new legal superweapon to unveil", they added. "Some kind of paralegal AI cyborg - like a Rotherham Robocop - or whether they are just penny pinching and don't want us getting at the bacon sandwiches".
Prohibiting rival firms from sending along spies, hecklers, poachers and freeloaders seems like a perfectly sensible idea, but CMS told RollOnFriday that it was not behind the door policy. A spokeswoman for CMS said, "This is in fact not correct and it is an open event".
Business Desk took responsibility. The Joint Managing Director of its West Midlands office (very businessy) said, "I have now reviewed this and am happy to confirm that lawyers are welcome to attend this seminar and we have been back in touch with those who had registered". All thanks to RollOnFriday, bridging the continents between lawyers.
A lawfirm doesn't want competitors at its own networking event? Shocking!
An organizer of networking events doesn't want competitors of its main sponsor at the event? Even more shocking!
There's an unwritten code where you politely avoid these events, depending on how closely you compete with the sponsor and whether they are a BD exercise or more educational.
Looks like some of it’s CMS’s competitors are the ones who are running scared...
Looks like CMS's PR team got here early. This is totally embarrassing and clearly wrong, which they obviously recognize given they removed the rule. It's a public seminar about local issues, not a private firm networking event. Just because you have a high degree of involvement in the event doesn't mean it's not embarrassing to discriminate employees from rival businesses. Looks like the organizer took the PR bullet to maintain their sponsorship relationship but now everyone knows CMS are misers.