PR as part of the legal strategy - [Litigation Communications Part 4]

Today’s business environment demands an aggressive strategy to resolve issues legally while protecting one’s reputation publicly.  As a result, lawyers need to be more than legal counselors or advocates.  They need to be familiar enough with how perception is created within the public eye and how to use the media effectively to manage that perception.  Therefore, the potential impact any litigation will have on a client’s image, reputation, investor relations and future business must be considered in creating a legal strategy.

To protect a client’s legal interests and also to preserve the client’s reputation publicly in a high-profile case, defense counsel should consider engaging public relations counsel early in the process, so as to develop a complementary strategy and get advice on how to deal with the media and protect the client’s public relations interests.  In developing a broad defense strategy that embraces both legal and public relations concerns, lawyers need to look beyond the facts and include public relations concerns as a comprehensive defense.  Public relations counsel can assist defense counsel by managing the public relations issues while defense counsel focuses on the traditional elements of mounting a defense.  If both the legal and the public relations components are to succeed, it is essential that defense counsel and public relations counsel coordinate their efforts.