Tonight Lockhart/Gardner fired the Governor's wife. It was actually tonight's episode of The Good Wife, on CBS and in tonight's show, the partners found out that Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) was planning on leaving the law firm to start her own and take with her some of Lockhard/Gardner's largest clients, not to mention a number of associates and lead investigator. There is a lot to learn from watching a TV show. I get that every now and then from watching the Kardashians. However, this one hits closer to home in terms of how I like to help clients, faced with high profile issues affecting their reputation -- as a lawyer, for a law firm and even for the Governor.
From an employer perspective....
- Once information is learned about an employee that would warrant firing them. before acting based on emotion an employer should have all the facts, or at least enough to make a decision on high profile employment issues.
- However, once the decision is made it must be communicated quickly and efficiently. Today, Twitter is the best and quickest medium.
- Before a tweet is sent, a firm or company should already have influential people following them - Work hard at pro-actively building upon your social network.
- Invest in client relations. Today, law firms are too big, lawyers are too isolated and legal bills are too high. Business today is based on personal relationships, not on big law firm names. It is important to ensure your clients know that you are laser focused on their work -- So represent them as if they are your only client.
- Work hard to communicate with your employees so these situations can be avoided in the future.
Good thing they had a public relations counselor waiting in the lobby to begin work on defending a major law firm against The Governor-elect's wife.
From the employee perspective...
- Make sure you are also following the law as you prepare to leave your employer.
- Be proactive in regards to getting everything in order, including notifying those that you can legally notify and what messages you are communicating in leaving.
- Have a website ready to go, in addition to social media -- most likely Twitter and Facebook but also LinkedIn.
- Know who the reporters are covering your industry and those of your clients, and make sure they know and trust you as a resource.
From the Governor's standpoint...
- Be prepared with a statement but don't communicate it directly.
- If confronted and asked in person stay on message.
- Answer the questions directly and bridge to another issue.
- Address the issue, don't avoid it.
- Distance yourself from the business of others, particularly those that you are close to.
- Ensure the public that this issue remains a separate issue outside of your work in the state and that you remain focused on the issues before you.
Regardless of which side you are on, make sure you have the necessary relationships with people to help you should you need it. This includes lawyers, accountants, doctors and strategic public relations counsel. Trust is vital to the success in any business and we work hard to establish it. It is even harder to rebuild in the wake of crisis. As we learned tonight, "politics leads, the law follows." Whatever comes your way, it is important to be prepared and know those that can help you should you need. it.