Lawyers should participate on crisis-management teams, but they should not be put in charge. Corporate traumas – think Tylenol, Exxon-Valdes, Vioxx – always spawn legal risks, but the gashes in a company’s reputation are much broader than those suffered judicially.
Lawyers too often resort to words, and carefully crafted words. Crises may require nimbleness and candor. Lawyers are too often conservative, fearing the lawsuit down the road. A crisis may require dramatic action. Lawyers have a partial view of the company, with less sensitivity to consumer confidence and bottom-line considerations. Crises clobber the entire company