Gone are the days when clients were only concerned about the legal ramifications of a lawsuit or legal quagmire. Today, clients are often also concerned with how they are judged in the public eye and perceived by their customers, vendors and by their own families.
In protecting a client’s reputation, “an attorney’s duties do not begin inside the courtroom door -- he or she cannot ignore the practical implications of a legal proceeding for the client.”[i] An attorney should take reasonable steps to defend a client’s reputation.
This is particularly important in an environment where news is reported “24/7” and at times even delivered instantaneously to our cell phones. Likewise, with sales of newspapers and magazines at all-time lows, the media is hungry for a story even if no story really exists. Therefore, lawyers must be more diligent in looking at the big picture in protecting their clients’ interests in the court of law as well as in the court of public opinion.
[i] Gentile v State Bar of Nevada (Kennedy opinion), 510 US 1030, 1043 (1991).