Everybody knows the saying, “you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression.” What this is really saying is that first impressions stick with us with more force than follow up information.
When a story breaks, the first information that is released is the most powerful, even if it is is wrong. It has to do with brain chemistry, something I know little about.
But what I do know is when a legal matter makes news, the lawyer with his/her story out first tends to control the conversation. Many lawyers are media shy and shun talking about cases outside of the courtroom. Then there are others who talk more outside of court than inside, hoping it never gets into a courtroom.
Many lawyers understand this and are quick to come to the public defense of their client in the media. Take for example the case of a young woman who was beaten to death while waiting outside a nightclub. When the police arrested the first suspect, her lawyer immediately came out and said she was a mere bystander who lost her cellphone in the melee. Whether this is true or not, that defense is sticking as the case moves forward.
Attorneys with high-profile cases are smart to seek the counsel of professional media relations experts to design a media strategy. Ultimately what is most important is a legal strategy, but in today’s social media world, getting a message out quickly can be equally as important.