Litigation Public Relations — Legal PR Campaign Strategies in 2020 that work

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Public Relations strategies to help your legal or litigation campaign in 2020.

What is Litigation PR? How to Build a Strong Legal PR Campaign, and 3 approaches to Litigation Public Relations in 2020

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What is litigation PR

Litigation PR is a branch within the Legal PR space that endeavors to manage a client’s reputation during a litigation process. The process involves strategic communication before a claim is issued, before the claim reaches court (if the claim proceeds to court), during the court proceedings, and after a case closes.

How to do litigation PR

To manage litigation PR effectively, PR professionals should adopt unique strategies in the three stages of a lawsuit, namely, pre-trial, trial, and post-trial periods.

Pre-trial stage

During the pre-trial stage, PR professionals should seek to build a narrative. Building a narrative can be accomplished via two processes.

#1. Inviting journalists on key trial dates

PR professionals should plot a timeline that highlights dates that are crucial to a client’s case. Specifically, journalists should be invited on dates when a client could get maximum press coverage to bolster their argument. For example, PR agencies should invite journalists to a client’s opening pleading — the date when witness statements are sworn in — to highlight key aspects of a dispute.

#2. Getting familiarized with court rules

Flouting court rules can land a litigation PR professional and their client in contempt of court. Noting the serious ramifications that accompany a contempt of court verdict, litigation PR professionals must follow the rules of engagement. Knowing when to speak about a lawsuit to the media is a major rule of engagement in litigation PR. At the same time, being acutely aware of when legal documents and the information therein can be publicized is an essential armor in litigation PR.

Trial stage

During the trial stage, distributing factual information about a client’s case is of utmost importance. To shape the narrative around a client’s case, litigation PR professionals should release court documents — after they’ve become public — accompanied by a well-crafted narrative on the contents of the document.

Post-trial

Often, lawsuits destroy a client’s reputation, regardless of the verdict. Thus, communicating effectively plays a part in preventing further damage to a client’s reputation. Assessing the extent of damage to a client’s reputation is key to rebuilding their name.

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In today’s highly-interconnected society, initiating or responding to a lawsuit draws boatloads of attention and external scrutiny to a brand. Within hours of a lawsuit being initiated, businesses find themselves plastered all over the news.

The resulting publicity can adversely affect a brand’s financial stability as its brand equity is eroded through viral speculations. This requires the adoption of effective communication strategies throughout the litigation period.

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#1. Proactive public relations

With proactive litigation PR, communication experts seek to attract media and public attention to their client’s case. Often, this strategy enables a client to generate public support, putting pressure on the opponent to agree to a quicker resolution.

#2. Reactive PR

In the event that opponents in a lawsuit rush to the media, when they have a relatively weak position in the litigation process, waiting for journalists to come seeking comment is tactically better. With the reactive approach, litigation PR pros use a convincing version of the case to highlight weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the opponent’s version.

#3. Settlement PR

Given the high costs associated with litigation, settlement PR has become the norm. The settlement PR strategy employs two approaches. The first entails a preemptive attack on the opponent’s reputation or court arguments prior to a trial. The preemptive approach forces both parties to settle their differences before the public is alerted about the litigation.

Written by

Ronn Torossian is CEO & Founder of 5WPR & one of America’s most notable PR executives. He is the Author of best-selling PR book, “For Immediate Release.“

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