Litigation PR 101: The advantages of attorneys engaging a PR firm

When attorneys meet one another in court, it is war.  Yes, civility reigns supreme, but nevertheless, the objective is to win the case.

With so many hours to fill, and so much content to create, media have become more and more interested in covering court cases.  Aside from headline news, many programs have sprung up such as “48 Hours Mystery” that follow cases deemed particularly sensational.

So what does this have to do with PR?

Reporters always want to talk to the persons closest to the story.  They want to talk to politicians.  They want to talk to victims and perpetrators.

However, they don’t always get to the people they want to talk to and often have to settle for attorneys and PR reps.

While many attorneys are experienced in dealing with the media, some don’t understand the advantages of engaging a PR representative on their behalf.  After all, if they are speaking to the media, what does the PR person do?

The answer is the PR person serves multiple purposes.  First, they know the media and can develop a media strategy on behalf of the attorney and the case(s) they are involved in.  Perhaps most important, they can be on the front lines taking media inquiries before the attorney schedules an interview.  This is extremely helpful in that the PR rep can find out what information the reporter is seeking and help the attorney prepare for the interview.

This is not to say PR people help craft misleading messages.  Reporters are far too smart for that.  Rather, it simply gives attorneys some breathing space and some time to think about the interview before picking up the phone and being hit with a barrage of media questions.

Over the years we have represented numerous attorneys involved in a wide range of cases.  Our role has been to help prepare lawyers for media interviews.  We don’t tell them what to say, and wouldn’t try to advise an attorney on legal strategy.  But we are helpful in preparing our attorney clients for interviews so when they do sit down with a reporter, they feel more comfortable and confident.

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