Yet Another Reminder For Why You Don't Let Your Lawyers Make Business Decisions
from the hammers-and-nails dept
One of the common themes around here is that it’s bad when you let your lawyers make business decisions. Why? Because lawyers understand the law, and they understand how to use the law — but they don’t often think through the business consequences of using the law. Often, in fact, it’s better for business not to use the laws — even if you can. This has only gotten worse in the internet age — where using the law to bully is all too often exposed for ridicule, making the impact on business even more negative. However, many companies still have a hard time learning this lesson, and the lawyers are still looking at every situation with their legal hammer as if it’s a nail.
The latest such example occurred over the weekend with the Consumerist blog. Last week, the site had an informative, but not particularly earth-shattering, post about 22 “confessions” of a former Dell sales manager, basically providing some good advice for people buying Dell (or, in some cases, other) computers. On Saturday, a Dell lawyer threatened the Consumerist and demanded the site take the message down. Of course, what happens? For all the hype it got, you probably already know: Digg, Slashdot and Fark all picked up the story of the takedown request — and Dell was forced to apologize and admit it had screwed up (yet again). Of course, this is the type of situation that companies should know enough to avoid already if they stopped focusing on having the lawyers do what they can do under the law, and focused more on what’s best for business. This isn’t to say that lawyers can’t make business decisions — but that just because you can do something under the law, it’s important for anyone (lawyer or not) to take into account the overall impact on the business.