When general counsel get called by a journalist about departmental operations

Think about what happens when a journalist calls the general counsel to ask about a management practice of the department. Three choices: Fight, flight, or delight.

To fight the journalist, deny the problem. “We don’t have low morale.” “We have costs under control.” To fight, roll out facts, avoid being defensive, and stick to your script.

Flight is easy. “No comment.” That is likely to be red meat in the water for the journalist. Someone, somewhere, will talk and you will have blown your chance to spin your story.

Delight, the third possibility and where the journalist wants to praise your department, raises issues. You may not want your department detected, preferring to run under the corporate radar. The Wizard of Oz risks the curtain being pulled. You may have no interest in yourself or your lawyers being known other than as crackerjack lawyers. No conference speaking, no quotes, and no case studies for you, even though you are delighted with your department and the recognition that might come.

Otherwise, tell your story and take pride in it. Positive recognition elevates the law department in the eyes of the company.

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