“Doubts are more cruel than the worst truths,” wrote Moliere, as he put his finger on the damage and explanation of rumors. Damage, because when people feel out of the loop and are worried, they fill the void with dark speculation and rumors. Explanation, because we all want to understand what is happening, and not to feel as if we are passive victims of fate; we also want community.
Not much happens in a law department that doesn’t hit the water cooler or instant messaging moments later. Promotions, who’s in and who’s out, shifts of responsibility, affairs, temper tantrums, paltry pay increases – all are grist for the rumor mill. The wisdom of crowds within law departments figures things out fairly accurately. People put observations together correctly, and little escapes the collective eye and mouth. The best antidote to rumors is truth, told directly and quickly.