Strategic PR Tips For Attorneys To Use Litigation Public Relations

The use of public relations in litigation is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s world. Litigation PR is defined as the management of the communication process during the course of any legal dispute or adjudicatory processing so as to affect the outcome or its impact on the client’s overall reputation. In today’s world it is more and more common to see law firms being assisted by PR consultants and counselors. This is evident by the increased media coverage of court cases and the law. Many parties to a lawsuit have very important concerns and interests that go well beyond the legal concerns and issues. Negative publicity can cause damage to an organization’s and/or an individual’s reputation even if they prevail and win in the courtroom. Therefore the impact of negative publicity on public opinion cannot be ignored.There are proven ways to use public relations to assist attorneys in their litigation efforts. Here are ten (10) public relations tips to assist the attorneys in influencing the outcome of the litigation, protecting their client’s reputation before and after the litigation, making a client’s viewpoint known, ensuring balanced media coverage, helping the media and the public understand complex legal issues, defusing a hostile environment and helping resolve the conflict.1. Commit to and retain a public relations consultant to be on to your legal team at the beginning of the client engagement.2. Engage a professional public relations consultant that has experience in litigation PR.3. Develop a strategic communications plan for the engagement. An effective public communications strategy must complement, support and enhance the legal strategy. Avoid withholding information from your PR expert, as it could prove disastrous in developing the PR strategy.4. Work with your professional PR consultant to select a company spokesperson and to work closely with the spokesperson to prepare him or her for all public appearances and public statements.5. Listen to, hear and understand what your professional PR consultant tells you so you can develop a clear vision of a big picture view point relative to an issue that goes beyond the immediate pending litigation or issue.6. Rely on the strategic use of your public relations experts’ experience in dealing with the media.7. Strategically engage the public relations expert’s resources and networks with various media and identified stakeholder groups.8. Seek, trust and use your PR professional’s expertise in crafting statements to the media and the public.9. Commit to understanding that there is a difference between writing legal documents and writing for the general public.
Work closely with your public relations consultant so he or she can translate your “legalese” into “common” English for the media and the public.10. Have the attorneys be engaged in media training to increase their comfort level when it comes to dealing with the media. Have your PR expert educate and train the attorneys on how journalists work, how deadlines play into the interview process and how to develop a positive rapport and relationship with the media.