Over the years that I spent in-house as a marketer, I encountered a lawyer or two in most of my firms that were just plain difficult to deal with. Most people didn’t want to be around them. They just poisoned the well with their personality and actions, including bullying. Whether that be in terrorizing the staff or junior lawyers. They may even be a very good technical lawyer, but came across as a miserable human being nonetheless. And the worst part is they many of these type of individuals haven’t got a clue.
The reason for my brief rant (I’ll spare you the stories that involved last minute demands, or throwing items at people, or the one who couldn’t keep a secretary for more than a month) is thanks to Otto Sorts, the curmudgeon’s rant over on Attorney at Work yesterday. He tells the story about the Mordred (notorious traitor of King Arthur tales) in his firm. I’m not sure I’d refer to these types as traitors as much as a notorious jerks. The Curmudgeon proceeds to suggest several ways to deal with them, including: ignoring them, carefully standing up to them, calling ’em out publicly, and so on. Take a look.
So, what does this have to do with marketing?, you may ask.
More than you may think. Particularly when it comes to the people who have to work with such a lawyer. They are not as a rule happy campers. Accordingly, they may have a normal reaction and take their grief out, unintentionally I might add, on clients, referral sources and others in the world they come into contact with. They are only human after all, and a client demand could hit them the wrong way on a bad day. They may not even realize that their grouchiness could come across and be misunderstood by clients and others. It happens.
Law firm leaders should understand that not only do such people contaminate the atmosphere at their firm, but can have an adverse impact on its marketing efforts. Unfortunately, some firms put up with these individuals for far too long.