Winning outside the courtroom

There was a time when Americans would take their disputes to the streets, but today, the courtroom is society’s battleground.

Thank goodness we live in a civilized society.

Statistically, most businesses will eventually find itself on one side of a major lawsuit. Many, too many, are frivolous and should never be filed. But then again, companies can have legitimate disputes that necessitate lawyers, a jury and a judge.

And in a growing number of instances, adding to the litigation team will be a litigation PR consultant. In fact, litigation PR is a normal part of the litigation process, along with the jury consultant and expert witness.

A litigation PR expert’s job is to tell clients’ story in a way that can’t be told in the courtroom. In court, there are strict rules of evidence and procedure must be followed, and lawyers need to adhere to the rulings of the judge. But unless the court imposes a gag order, which is only in the highest profile cases, litigants are free to discuss their case in the media and to influential target audiences

This is critical because every business has constituents who have a vested interest in the outcome of corporate litigation. These include employees, vendors, suppliers, customers, shareholders, investors, bankers and more. This is not to mention preserving the branding image a company has with the general public.

Because the outcome of any litigation is never certain until the verdict comes in, or a settlement is reached, companies should be pro-active in getting their message out to the audiences that are important to their survival and operation. In other words, even if an unfavorable decision comes down, a company that has taken steps to communicate with its important audiences can still land on its feet. It has a much better chance of moving forward because it has made its case directly to its important audiences, instead of leaving it to the court and opposing attorneys to do so.

Every law firm and corporation should consider the value a litigation PR consultant brings to the litigation team, and do so well before the gavel strikes on the opening day of court.