Publicity about the law department may ruffle senior executives’ feathers

Many general counsel believe that publicity about the achievements of their department will benefit the law department (and incidentally the career of the general counsel). If members of the law department speak at conferences write articles, are quoted, or win awards, all that inures to the benefit of the department when it comes time to negotiate budgets and headcount or to attract and retain capable lawyers (See my post of June 6, 2006 about publicity sought by law departments.).

But, as no good deed goes unpunished, it may be that a law department in the news – even for favorable commentary – troubles the CEO and other senior executives. They may see the efforts as self-aggrandizement, manipulation of perceptions, inappropriate use of time, or even disclosures of proprietary advantages. They may resent a general counsel who is in the spotlight and who receives awards and commendations. They may mutter that the lawyers should be practicing law, not public relations.

I strongly favor law departments that promote themselves and their worthy accomplishments, but this post acknowledges that others may criticize the practice.

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