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February 21, 2011
Keep Lawyers at Bay – If You Can
There's a lot of tension in PR between lawyers and publicists. Lawyers, unsurprisingly from their edgy perspective, are more leery of what a crisis-beset organization should be saying than its PR people. Our sense of it is, sadly,  that the lawyers too often prevail. T.J. Walker on his Inside Communications blog provides an example of when an organization, in this case an unidentified Los Angeles hospital, should be forthcoming – and the lawyers are likely to blanch. 

Should a kidney be transplanted into the wrong patient, Walker advises, be out there explaining what happened, if you know, or being at least suitably apologetic if you don't. Information at a time like this is about relationships foremost, present, anguishing ones – not what might be happening in a courtroom later.

As Walker puts it, "These seven steps will seem painful at first, but they will minimize your pain in the long run." He also notes two web services, ustream.com and livestream.com that might help distribute the press conference.

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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