Lawyers have to be aware they are always representing their employer. Anonymity has ceased in the internet age.
In the end, Clive O’Connell’s departure from his Goldberg Segalla firm had an ironic symmetry to it.
The Chelsea football fan whose rant about Liverpool supporters has been seen by more than 120,000 people on YouTube, had his fate broadcast through the same medium by his firm this morning.
A rather po-faced managing partner explained that O’Connell’s furious tirade about ‘Scouse scum’ had no place in his firm and was ‘offensive, plain and simple’.
I sense this will be the kind of story where most who read it will instinctively feel sorry for O'Connell: he was obviously riled by watching his team lose, he was caught unawares by a camera thrust into his face, and no doubt by the time he was home he would already have regretted his words.
In the clip, the interviewer can barely contain his delight at finding someone who has, for that moment, seemingly lost his mind.
As unfortunate as O’Connell may be - and he did apologise afterwards - his departure from the firm came to be all but inevitable.
The video suggested a person who could be easily riled and was likely to lose his temper
Had he been filmed ranting in private to friends in the pub, the case might have been different. If the clip had disappeared without trace, not picked up by the nation’s media who gleefully ran with it, perhaps he could have carried on.
But when his name - and the firm’s - was making headlines, there was surely no alternative but for firm and partner to part company.
Not only did the video make the prospect of work from Merseyside pretty unlikely, but it suggested a person who could be easily riled and was likely to lose his temper.
But was O'Connell representing his firm as he stood outside Stamford Bridge? Not in name. But there’s no such thing as anonymity nowadays.
As daunting and restrictive as it might seem, we’re all representing our employer all the time. We are not wearing those name badges you get at conferences, but we might as well be.
Was it trial by social media? Undoubtedly, but this is the new jurisdiction. In future, angry football fans will be best advised to head home and stew without sharing their thoughts in front of any cameras.
John Hyde is Gazette deputy news editor