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LawBiz® TIPS – Week of June 3, 2014

LawBiz(r) newsletter

I'm more convinced than ever of the wisdom of Steven Coveys' 2nd rule ... focus on the important. Too often we are distracted by that which is urgent. Don't confuse urgency with importance. It's what's truly important that counts.

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A Mouth Is Not a Good Place for a Foot

Open mouth, insert foot. This seems to be a common progression of events lately. And it should serve as a lesson to heed for all lawyers-at least, it should serve as a lesson to heed for all lawyers who want to remain in business.

Exhibit A: Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who gained fame and support by illegally grazing his cattle on public land based on what he perceives as rightful public use of public lands, has now earned infamy and lost his support due to remarks about African Americans and slavery that have been widely viewed as racist.

Exhibit B: Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, has received several honors from the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and was set to receive a lifetime achievement award soon. However, after he made a racist remark to a friend, telling her that he didn't want her to bring African Americans to Clippers' games, the NAACP changed its mind. In addition, the National Basketball Association banned Sterling from NBA-related activities for life and is also trying to remove Sterling as a team owner.

Our world is no longer tolerant of intolerance. In addition to discrimination laws that impose legal sanctions for discriminatory behavior, there are moral standards in our society whereby customers, supporters, etc., punish people of prominence who do not behave in a morally acceptable way. This punishment includes removing both personal and financial support from those who behave in a reprehensible fashion. No one wants to be "tainted" by associating with someone whose publicly stated views are politically unacceptable.

Lawyers are not immune to this withdrawal of support. Clients large and small could easily find different representation if they are offended by what you say. So, remember to think before you speak.

Hopefully, though, you won't have to think about it. Ideally, those types of thoughts will never enter your mind in the first place.

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A Mouth Is Not a Good Place for a Foot

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