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Free Chapter: Why Should I Apologize? Lawyers vs. Communicators

Why Should I Apologize? Lawyers vs. Communicators

This chapter is from the new book

Crisis Counsel:

Navigating Legal and Communication Conflict
By Tony Jaques, Ph.D.

One of the most common areas of disagreement between lawyers and communicators is about when and how to apologize.

That probably won’t surprise you. The truth is that while apologizing seems simple, it’s not easy. Think about it at a personal level – how hard it is to genuinely apologize, even to your friends and loved ones. How much harder it is for corporations and CEOs having to do so on the public stage, in the glare of the news media, beset by concerns about avoiding embarrassment and protecting reputation and share value while surrounded by a phalanx of nervous lawyers and anxious communication professionals.

That prospect can generate a whole catalogue of reasons why you don’t want to apologize. Which in turn leads to the defensive questions: “Why should I apologize at all? What’s the worst that can happen?” Those issues demand both legal and communications involvement.

This free chapter will help you to:

  • Recognize why you should apologize when you’ve done something wrong.
  • Assess the legal implications of apologizing.
  • Learn from real-life examples how lack of a proper apology can trigger a crisis.
  • Avoid making the crisis worse by failing to apologize.
  • Know how apologizing can sometimes reduce legal liability.
  • Accept why you sometimes need to apologize, even when you’ve done nothing wrong.
  • Show how legal or political pressure can demand organizational apologies for historical issues.


Crisis Counsel: Navigating Legal and Communication Conflict
By Tony Jaques

The book will help you to:

  • Balance reputation protection and legal obligation during a crisis.
  • Know why and how to apologize without increasing liability.
  • Weigh legal and communications advice when a crisis strikes.
  • Learn from original research which lets lawyers and communicators speak in their own words.
  • Draw practical everyday lessons from real-world examples of conflict between lawyers and communicators.
  • Navigate the legal and communication challenges of dealing with the media in a crisis.
  • Motivate lawyers and communicators to work better together.
  • Identify and avoid crucial areas of potential conflict from selected crisis case studies.
  • Understand the essential difference between corporate responsibility and legal liability.
  • Make decisions and do the right thing to protect your organization.

Tony Jaques PhD, is Director of Issue Outcomes Pty Ltd.




This book is designed to provide hands-on, practical guidance for senior executives, lawyers and public relations professionals to navigate crises and to balance conflicting advice from lawyers and communication professionals while promoting open communication and protecting legal liabiltony-jaques-rothstein-publishingity.

The book includes a wide variety of global case studies and examples while analyzing how legal and communications advice was managed and the impact on reputation. Crisis Counsel also includes interviews with four of the leading global experts on crisis management and the conclusions of a focused, unique global survey of senior lawyers.

“Crisis Counsel confirms Tony Jacques position as one of the industry’s foremost experts on issues and crisis management. In addressing the complex interactions between legal and communication crisis responses Dr Jacques provides riveting case studies and practical advice. It highlights the financial and reputational risks of not effectively integrating communications and legal counsel. It should be on every communications practitioner’s reading list and companies should insist their in house and external legal counsellors read it.” – Noel Turnbull, Former Chair of Turnbull Porter Novelli, Adjunct Professor, RMIT University.


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