We've explained from time to time why, as part of the public service that this blog provides, we report on court decisions, which you might think to be just "lawyer stuff." In fact, they're much more than that. Each case represents a little drama that has been enacted in real life. Each tells the story of an unexpected problem, a risk taken, maybe a misunderstanding. By studying the ramifications of such problems, risks and misunderstandings, we all can learn to adjust our own behavior and decision making to minimize similar problems in our own lives. In short, it helps us to learn from others' mistakes.
So in preparing for this, my 300th post on this blog, I was glad to run across this post from Steve Tobak at The Corner Office blog. I had never seen Steve's blog before, but I'll be back for more. (Among other things, anyone who admits in public that he likes to drive his wife crazy is my kind of guy!) Written from the life experience of a non-lawyer executive, Steve emphasizes the need to understand the legal system. He begins with this provocative statement:
If your career or business is untouched by significant legal matters, then you probably don't have much of a career or business. We are a nation of laws, and any senior executive or business leader who's been around will tell you: turn a blind eye to the legal system and you risk everything. Like it or not, that's the way it is.
Steve lists a dozen broad categories of legal involvement that he's had in his career, employment law among them.
We lawyers sometimes feel like professional nags, always warning clients about things that may not even be problems — yet. It's nice to be validated by someone who's sat on the other side of the desk. But more important, it's good advice to be prepared. As Steve said so bluntly: "turn a blind eye to the legal system and you risk everything. Like it or not, that's the way it is."
Take a minute to read the rest of Steve's thoughts on the subject. They're short but valuable to anyone in business.