Handle protesters outside the building


The protesters were not satisfied with certain things.

They will open a shop outside your building next Tuesday.

What’s your job?

The traditional view yells: warning buildings are safe. Remind public relations personnel. Remind key business personnel. And when the protesters show up, please ignore them.

The first three items are self-evident; the last one comes from common experience: if you send someone down to talk to the protesters, you will create a viral moment. Instead, let the twelve people with signs walk around for a while. Make them tired. They will go home. This way you can do your job: minimize distractions and avoid turning smaller public relations issues into major issues.

But the protesters came, so someone arranged a call.

During the call, you will hear all common thoughts:

“We should distribute notes explaining our position. That will bring the protesters home.”

But: “The demonstrators will protest. They will not go home. If you distribute papers to explain our position, the protesters will set the papers on fire, creating a viral moment. Do not distribute papers.”


“Other tenants in the building will complain. We really have to invite protesters in.”

But: “Other tenants have no reason to complain. If the protesters are on public property, they have the right to protest. Bringing protesters into the building will complicate the security issue and escalate the situation.”


“Why not tell the protesters to meet with our lawyers in the law firm?” The second is: “Lawyers will never let all protesters into the lawyer’s office.”

A bunch of chowder. You put your head in your hands; you put the phone on silent; you start to cry. You need to wait for others to figure out that the law firm will only invite one protester, not all protesters into the office of the law firm. Finally, someone said something similar to the facts: “This may not cause the demonstrators to leave, but it is better than letting them demonstrate outside our office. Before the protesters arrive, we can invite their lawyers to our law firm. Meet with our lawyer. If there is any negotiation to be done, then it can be held there.”

This is reasonable.

This may not work because the demonstrators want to protest. They do not want to negotiate. But it may be worth a try.

You said to yourself: “Traditional views are sometimes wrong. But there is usually a reason. If the protesters are going to show up outside your office, please let them be there. If you are lucky, few people will notice, and ultimately the protesters Will get bored and leave. At least, your behavior will not make the situation worse.”

You should reconsider all difficult issues. However, you should consider whether there are reasons for routine answers to routine questions.

mark Herman Served as a partner in a leading international law firm for 17 years and is now the deputy general counsel of a large international company. he is” “Kulmarton Practice Law Guide” with Litigation strategy for drug and device product liabilityÿ (Affiliate link).You can contact him by email inhouse@abovethelaw.com

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