When the “court of public opinion” factors into legal strategies
Litigation communications have evolved into an essential utility for attorneys who recognize that their clients sometimes require more than their legal acumen.
Much has changed in the years since U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy suggested in Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada that attorneys have not only a right, but an obligation to publicly advocate for clients. For better or worse, the trend is clear when it comes to the convergence of law and the news media.
Popular fascination with legal controversies and entertainment and a 24-hour news cycle mean that “no comment” is less often an appropriate option for counsel involved in high-profile litigation or who have clients in high-risk industries. And litigants increasingly realize that their reputational assets must be protected in legal disputes, even if a case is expected to eventually settle.
Effective litigation communications provides a means to:
- Extrajudicially protect or defend a client’s reputation in support of a legal strategy;
- Ensure fair and balanced news coverage, and;
- Reach a litigant’s key audiences
Predictable tension exists between many in the news media and legal profession. These professions often coexist with competing objectives, deadlines, professional standards and regulations, issues of public disclosure, and expectations of their organizations or clients. We help prepare lawyers and their clients for effective interaction with the news media. Attorneys also count on us to provide media training designed for the legal community. Objectives of media training often include:
- Learning whether, when and how to contact the news media to protect client interests;
- Developing news interview skills and productive news media relationships, and;
- Preparing for representation of high-profile or unpopular clients