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The trouble with lawyers pt.2

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Lawyers have little sense of humour or irony. OK: The ones who are always defending crooks they know for sure are guilty can be quite amusing in person, in a dark way.

I mean professionally, they adopt stances of certainty in a world where there is hardly any.

From a PR point of view this produces disasters. My favourite of which are the legal letters demanding (demanding!) a correction when the client and the lawyer would be best advised to keep quiet.

Newspapers and editors have differing views on the running of corrections. Some think they are an admission of failure and fight to keep them out. Some think they are a sign of honesty, a signal to the world that we are thoughtful folk really.

Some corrections are of the sort we actively want to run, because they make the subject of the complaint look foolish all over again.

One example: Years ago, I described a slightly shady businessman as a millionaire playboy. I thought that just meant — he’s a rich guy with a yacht. I didn’t properly get the implications of the word playboy.

The playboy complained. And a correction ran pointing out that the playboy millionaire wanted to make it clear that he isn’t a playboy, though he is a millionaire. To which any normal reader would think, wow, that playboy millionaire is a bit touchy. Wonder what else they’ve got on him?

You see my point.


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