Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pick your battles: What Do Florida Bar rules and John Maxwell Have in Common?

In rendering legal advice, in-house counsel may be challenged in "picking their battles" because their legal advice is governed by a professional code.  Because in-house counsel often give a blend of legal and business advice, John Maxwell's thoughts on picking your battles may come in handy.

The Florida Bar rules provide:  "In representing a client, a lawyer shall exercise independent professional judgment and render candid advice."  Florida Bar, Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 4-2.1 Advisor.  But this rule also recognizes some flexibility:  "In rendering advice, a lawyer may refer not only to law but to other considerations such as moral, economic, social, and political factors that may be relevant to the client's situation."

With the profession code in mind, consider Maxwell's thoughts "on when to fight back and when to 'let it go.'"  His advice includes:  "In matters of personal preference or taste, give in.  Keep the main thing the main thing. If you don’t save your energy for what really matters, you’ll wear yourself out and wear out your welcome with others." "Don’t take things too personally.  In general, hurting people hurt people. And they’re also easily hurt by others. Keep that in mind when you’re on the receiving end of someone’s anger."

See Maxwell's blog post at Pick your battles.

This summary was prepared by Perry Cone and posted at
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