how to deliver bad news

Ten Things: The Art of Delivering Bad News

Most days being an in-house lawyer is a pretty good gig.  It has certainly gotten more demanding over the last ten years or so, but there have been corresponding gains in both compensation and prestige.  Those do not always offset the increase in expectations, but they are pretty nice!  When things are good and the relationship with the business is productive, your days are busy but manageable.  And when you get to deliver good news to the business, things can really take a positive turn.  Everyone likes to give and get good news.  Unfortunately, unless you work in a very magical, wonderful place, not all the news in-house counsel must deliver is good.  While hopefully infrequent, there comes a time when all in-house counsel must deliver bad news.  And, depending on the content and context, this can be both a painful and scary proposition.  Believe it or not, there is an art to delivering bad news.  For some, it’s instinctive.  For others (yours truly included) it must be learned.  This edition of “Ten Things” will walk you through the art of delivering bad news: