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Why Lawyers Always Lose on The Apprentice

It’s a Thursday afternoon and I’m stuck in legal limbo on an email marketing piece we are trying to release for a client which is going through yet another round of legal reviews.  It leads me to think of The Apprentice and the often adversarial relationship legal professionals have with marketing ones.  On the show, at least half of the professionals they cast are usually lawyers.  Why?  Because they make for great drama – never quite understanding branding, marketing, advertising or sales aspects of winning tasks — but always offering the ability to deliver a cold shower upon any random flames of creativity.   

They keep the show interesting, providing the discord needed to prevent the boring outcome of everyone agreeing on a reasoned course of action and taking it.  No conflict = no compelling reality TV.  Maybe it’s not fair to take this extreme example and blame it all on the lawyers – after all there are many professions outside of law where creativity may not be as necessary as in marketing and advertising.  But to quote Guy Kawasaki’s view from his successful experience working on the first Macintosh launch … "sometimes it’s ok and even advantageous to ship crap."  You get it out there first and fix it later.  Successful startups know this – and sometimes rely on it to their detriment.  Risks bring rewards, and lawyers are trained to help companies avoid risk.  It seems to be a built-in adverse relationship, and one that marketers in every situation will continue to struggle with.   

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Rohit is the author of 9 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.


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