Why I love corporate lawyers

Think they exist to make your job a misery? Maybe it’s time to think again.

Ah, corporate attorneys! They’re such an easy target. Paid to render opinions, they’re often met with vitriol when they do. Mention the need for legal input to a communicator, and get ready for the raised eyebrow and the eye-roll.

But, how so? When did lawyers become the bad guys?

If this is how you see them, listen up: Unless you’ve a law degree yourself not to mention a private window into your company’s affairs, you might want to park the attitude and consider making attorneys your allies. It could make your life—and your job—a whole lot easier.

The corporate lawyer’s No. 1 job is to protect the corporation. In fact, that’s the corporate communicator’s No. 1 job, too. If you think it’s to engage employees or to keep them informed or to be transparent, think again. Because without the company, there are no jobs, there are no employees, and there’s no need for corporate communications.

You need to maintain a level head not only in crafting communications but in deciding how and when they’re distributed, and to whom. You must ensure that what you release is in no way damaging to your employer—that you help keep its reputation intact. This means keeping trade secrets secret, refraining from pushing out announcements prematurely and just plain watching the company’s back.

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