First in a series --
When legal problems become PR problems it is vital to act quickly, decisively in order to establish credibility and protect your clients’ brand, reputation and business relationships. To meet the challenge demands of today’s economic and technological realities, attorneys must develop relationships with the media and PR professionals who can help them weigh the legal, PR, public policy risk and ramifications that legal questions raise.
For example, Orrick helps clients weigh their legal problems from a range of disciplines including PR and public policy.
Lawsuits today affect more than a company. It affects share value, product reputation, brand reputation, individual reputation. Therefore Litigation strategies must take into account the potential impact it will have on a company’s reputation. Lawsuits no longer tried exclusively in the courtroom i.e. customers and shareholders now sit in judgment along with juries.
Litigation starts well before a case is ever filed. New skills for next generation of lawyers. Media savvy attorneys begin with the pre-trial community and it ends long after a judge renders a verdict.
Today’s legal market demands a broad range of business solutions lawyers can provide their clients and a strategic communications plan can prove to be an extremely helpful tool your firm can provide. For example, in today’s 24/7 media culture, companies lack access and lack control to the media who cover their industry and to the people that talk about them on-line.
Elements to a legal problem:
- Public concerns
- Issues management
- Preemptive legislation
- Litigation communication
- Relationship management
Today’s communications plans must be objective, flexible and discrete. Great campaigns are strategic, have a well-defined goal, are targeted and provide results that stand-out. Each business problem should be approached with a public relations, backed by solid research to build the strategy, sprinkle it with a heavy dose of creativity and efficient use of funding
In today’s competitive market, there is a great demand for high level, experienced communications executives who demonstrate the ability to reason; analyze and solve business problems to help retain clients, develop new business and help their business stand out from their competitors.
Companies today are facing increasing challenges from regulatory and legislative authorities. Likewise, high profile white collar defendants now draw the same intense media coverage as drunken movie stars and athletes who are accused of steroid use. Like movie stars and athletes, business executives in trouble aren’t just calling their lawyer. They are hiring public relations firms in hopes of salvaging their name and saving their corporate reputation.
Defending clients in the public arena differs tremendously from a court of law. For example, the rules of evidence do not apply. And in the public’s eye, we are presumed guilty while innocent when justice is blind. Therefore, when the damage is done publicly the legal outcome becomes irrelevant.