Dealing with demonstrators outside the building

514 points

The protesters are dissatisfied with something.

They’ll set up a shop outside your building next Tuesday.

what do you work?

Conventional wisdom cries out: Alert building security. Alert the people of public relations. Alert key businessmen. When protesters appear, ignore them.

The first three elements are a no-brainer; The latter stems from the global experience: If you send someone downstairs to speak with protesters, you will have created a viral moment. Instead, let the dozens of people with banners roam around for some time. Let them get tired. They will go home. And you will have done your job: Reduce the disruption, keep a small PR problem from becoming a bigger problem.

But protesters are coming, so someone set a date for a call.

On the call, you’ll hear all the usual thoughts:

We must hand over pieces of paper explaining our position. This will make the protesters return to their homes. “

But: “The protesters are coming to protest. They won’t come back home. If I hand out pieces of paper explaining our position, the protesters will burn the pieces of paper, creating a viral moment. Don’t hand out pieces of paper.”


Other tenants will complain about the building. We must really call the protesters inside. “

But: “The other tenants have no basis to complain. If protesters are in public property, they have the right to protest. The entry of demonstrators into the building exacerbates the security problem and escalates the situation. “


“Why don’t we tell the protesters to meet our lawyers at the lawyers’ office?” Next: “The lawyers will not allow all protesters to enter the lawyers’ office.”

A bunch of papplum. You put your head in your hands. Put the phone on mute mode; You start to cry. You wait until others realize that the law firm will invite only one, not all protesters, to law firms. Finally, someone says something that looks like the truth: “Maybe it wouldn’t lead to the protesters’ departure, but it is better than making them protest outside our offices. Before the protesters arrived, we could invite their lawyers to meet our attorneys at the attorney’s office. If there was any negotiation to be done, It can be done there. “

This is a reasonable.

Maybe that won’t work because the protesters want to protest. They don’t want to negotiate. But it might be worth a try.

You think to yourself: “Conventional wisdom is wrong sometimes. But there is often a reason for that. If protesters are going to show up outside your office, let them come. If you are lucky, few people will notice it, and in the end the demonstrators will get bored and leave. At a minimum, Your actions will not exacerbate a bad situation. “

You have to think about all the difficult problems all over again. But you should consider the possibility that there is a reason for the routine answers to the routine questions.

sign Hermann He spent 17 years as a partner at a leading international law firm and is now Deputy General Counsel in a large international firm. He is the author Curmudgeon’s Guide to Law Practice And the Litigation strategies related to drug and device liabilitys (Affiliate links). You can reach him via email at

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514 points


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