Maybe The Lawyers Got Out Of The Way

I was struck by this post and this video in the wake of the Virgin Galactic tragedy:

The video is Richard Branson, the head of Virgin, addressing the media in a concise, but empathetic manner about the very sad event. The post from Michele Lutz suggests that Branson intuitively acted like a crisis management specialist. And her post provides several tips for other leaders to follow.

And it occurred to me – how often do we lawyers muck that process up?  In his statement, Branson admitted “we fell short.” He acknowledged Virgin needs to learn “from what went wrong.” 

As I listened, the lawyer in me started reflexively thinking about “admissions against interest” and the risk that some plaintiff’s lawyer will cue that video up for a jury one of these days. 

And those are valid concerns, but where Branson gets it right I think is in not giving into those concerns to the point where his statement is some meaningless plate of pablum. The lesson? For us lawyers let’s realize that our legal advice is one piece of the puzzle. Let’s not let it trump compassion and humility.