Earlier this week, Montieth & Co., a special situations management advisory and communications consultancy released the results from their 2009 "Media and the Law Survey." The results show, that reporters are trying to cover more litigation than ever (60% of reporters polled), and the need help understanding the core issues of the cases, especially in securities actions."
In today's litigious environment, journalists need to be able to explain complex legal matters to audiences outside the courtroom. Lawyers have a real opportunity, not to affect a legal outcome, but to help protect their clients reputation in the court of public opinion.
However, the survey also found that only 31% of the respondents said that lawyers were effective in helping them understand the cases and the legal issues involved -- and most found plaintiff's attorney were more helpful.
Reporters surveyed also said they "wish lawyers were more open to talking to reporters about their cases." And others would like more background on cases.
Lawyers have an important role in protecting their clients. At the same time, that should not come as a sacrifice to protecting their client's reputation in the public eye. In some cases, one's reputation is more important than any legal outcome.
As a result, lawyers should either become more media savvy or retain a public relations firm that is, because the chances are, if you are not talking to the media ... your opponent is.
*For the record, only half of those surveyed found PR firms to be helpful. So we all have to step-up our game.