Though he did not invent the phrase, Ronald Reagan was the most famous proponent and practitioner of what’s commonly referred to as “The 11th Commandment”: Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.
While initially coined to address political campaigns, the precept is directly applicable to branding and perception management in business as well. The underlying premise is that public attacks and denigration originating within a group ultimately undermine the group itself by giving credibility to similar attacks from outsiders.
Apparently Shawn McNalis at Atticus, a practice management education and training organization for attorneys, is not a believer. In a blog post this week on Attorney at Work, McNalis advocates for taking advantage of out-of-work and underemployed legal marketers to do admin work:
“You might be able to hire a college student part-time or as an intern, or try delegating marketing tasks to a paralegal or receptionist on your staff. But keep in mind that right now the job market is filled with skilled legal marketing professionals who are out of work because of the recession. Be sure to look at the more experienced marketers—you might be surprised at the quality of help that’s available.“
Isn’t that analogous to the very thing law firms hire practice management coaches to help them with? Dissuading bargain-hunters and countering misperceptions about the value of attorneys’ expertise and professionalism?
Just for fun, let’s replace “marketers” with “lawyers” and “practice management consultants” in McNalis’ recommendation and see how it plays:
- “You might be able to hire a law student part-time or as an intern, or try using LegalZoom. Right now the market is filled with skilled lawyers who are out of work because of the recession. You might be surprised at the quality of lawyers willing to bill at steeply discounted rates.”
- “Keep in mind that the internet is filled with excellent free practice management and lawyer coaching advice. Be sure to do a Google search and read and watch as much practice management content as you can before considering paying a consultant for training. You might be surprised at the quality of lawyer coaching that’s available for free.”