Sunday, November 16, 2008

The forbidden word

The forbidden word

While in Santa Fe, N.M., I spoke about how lawyers can help their clients make ethical decisions. While it may seem odd, this was my first piece of advice: Don't talk to your clients about ethics. Why? I have tried a lot of cases in the last 28 years, and I have sat through a lot of jury selections, waiting for my case to be called. I can spot rookie lawyers when they ask the jury pool, "Can you be fair?" I watch the potential jurors, imagining a cartoon bubble appearing above their heads: "Of course I can be fair. In fact, I am the fairest person I know." You get the idea. It’s the same when you use the word ethics. Once you say something is an ethical issue, the person to whom you are speaking has the same reaction. Instead, talk about "integrity-based decisions" or "the brand identity of the company being at stake." But never, ever, blab about "ethical decisions." The listener will shut down. The listener will not listen. Your point -- no matter how well taken, no matter how well intentioned -- is lost. We all (including yours truly) think we are more ethical than we really are, we are thinner than we really are, we are better looking than we really are, and we are not as bald as we really are. It’s just human nature.

Click on the link, read the entire post, well worth reading.


BrianJ said...

That's very ethical advice. Thanks!

MainTour said...

Can you be Fair?

What a question that we should direct to editors of the major media right now. It seems that all news coverage is one sided with a very anti-Mormon bias.

If democracy doesn't go your way is anarchy okay?

And which government officials are responsible to enforce the law and prevent harassment of churches, businesses and families who tried to exercise their freedom of speech in a civil manner?