When Legal Meets PR — The Court of Public Opinion pt. 2

Erik Bernstein crisis litigation Leave a Comment

Mounting an offense

In part one of this series we talked a bit about being on the defendant’s side, but what about when you’re the one on the offensive in a battle of litigation and PR? There are two scenarios where we see a need to take things into the court of public opinion most often:

  1. You need results, now. Sometimes an individual or organization simply doesn’t have the financial or mental reserves to chase what’s bound to be a drawn-out legal case. Quite often the issue in debate is time-sensitive or has a major impact on daily life, operations,etc. Either way, you need your opponent to feel the pressure long before you get in front of a judge.
  2. Litigation-only approaches haven’t produced results. You got the wrong judge, specific evidence wasn’t allowed, etc etc. Sometimes even the best-laid legal strategy falls victim to something out of your control. Or, perhaps the other side doubled down on getting nasty right after you took a minor victory. Either way, quietly staying within the legal system didn’t achieve the goal you had in mind.

Taking your battle public can be risky, and you need to make absolutely certain legal counsel is in sync with PR reps so nothing’s done that could eventually endanger your case (if there’s still a case to be had) or put you at risk of a legitimate counter-suit. In the end the goal is simple – supplement and amplify your legal efforts to gain a victory. The tactics used often involve self-publishing, media outreach, and creating a network of supporters who can amplify your efforts, but frequently incorporate more “outside the box” solutions to fit the specifics of the situation as well.

Erik Bernstein

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