If you read, watch, or listen to political news, the recent retention of attorney and former New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani, by President Trump, has led to some rather scandalous news. Apparently, Giuliani let the cat out of the bag that Trump paid back Michael Cohen for the $130,000 hush money payment to Stormy Daniels.
And while Giuliani insists that the payment had nothing to do with campaign finance, the facts he revealed may actually belie that point. Fortunately for those of us that haven't been retained by the president, we can sit back, watch the train wreck unfold, and learn from someone else's high profile mistakes.
Below are three lessons to learn from the recent Giuliani/Trump debacle.
1. Get the Facts Straight
As Trump's attorney, Giuliani probably should have kept his mouth shut until he learned all the facts and all the information that was already out there. After all, he is basically a celebrity himself and probably could have stirred up as much buzz by simply saying "no comment" to every question asked.
Though it might be understandable for a no-name attorney to jump into the media spotlight and accept interviews, revealing any facts off the record is a risk that's probably not worth taking, especially if you are not 100% sure of those facts, or 100% sure your client will back those facts up.
2. Focus Group Your Statements
When you're going to appear on TV, or do any sort of media coverage for that matter, you may want to focus group your prepared statements, lest you end up caricatured and skewered by political cartoonists. Your public image is important not just to your business and career, it matters for your client too. If what you say is going to make you look like buffoon, a focus group might be able to help you see why, and you can work on your statements to prevent undesired reactions.
3. Don't Make Things Worse
Notably, the most important lesson to learn from Giuliani's apparent flub is to not make things worse for your client. After all, in the end, if it's worse for the client, it'll be worse for you as the client's attorney (or former attorney).