When a law firm or one of their clients is involved in litigation, everyone likes to keep an eye on the dispute. But winning in the court of law guarantees little in the court of public opinion. Say nothing and you invite unwanted speculation; but say the wrong thing in litigation PR and you can land yourself in contempt of court. It’s a fine line.
Whether the circumstances warrant an aggressive or defensive, proactive or reactive strategy, you must communicate. You need a team on your side who, working closely with your legal counsel, knows how to navigate the intricacies of the court process as well as the scrum on the steps outside.
Led by Gus Sellitto, Byfield’s Litigation PR team have the industry expertise and contacts to translate any legal position into a communications strategy. We use our ability to properly consider the legal status of information to deliver your story in line with litigation proceedings. We deal with high-profile disputes in the UK and internationally on behalf of individuals and organisations, dovetailing communications and legal strategies to comprehensively cover all stakeholder concerns.
In the narrative of any litigation, there are times when advantage can be achieved by pushing your side of the story; and times when it’s important to step back to consider your position or avoid prejudicing the case. We’ve walked this line a thousand times in some of the most high-profile and sensitive cases and you can benefit from our experience.
Our services seamlessly dovetail communications and legal strategies to provide 360 degree coverage of stakeholder concerns. If you or your client is involved in litigation, you will know that the jury in the court of public opinion is out – and may remain so long after judgement is handed down. We are therefore conscious of the Pyrrhic victory in which the court battle is won but the reputational war is lost – planning for success is as important as preparing for a potential loss.
Getting your communication wrong in litigation PR can cost more than your reputation – it can land you in contempt of court. You need a team on your side who knows how to navigate the intricacies of the court process including the legal status of documents; knows when information can – and can’t – be released; and knows how you should deal with the microphone in your face in the scrum outside the court.
We also know that litigation is business as unusual and, whether you are a litigant or their lawyer, you will be focused on the case. We take the strain of the litigation communications so that it doesn’t overwhelm you or your in-house communications team.
In high stakes litigation we make sure that our clients' stories are told by providing the right context, at the right time. Here are some examples.
Working with the media to expose bad business practices
It can be heart-breaking when someone you trust violates that relationship, something we often see in employment and IP cases. Taking legal action may not be the best way of settling a dispute – but sometimes it’s the only way. Working with the media even before cases get to court can help to settle the problem quickly and allow normal service to resume. A leading British designer of high quality leather accessories faced such an issue when a former manufacturing partner set up a rival business. Working with the media before the action got to court ensured that a settlement was met quickly and the company could get back to ‘business as usual’.
Asserting entertainment rights in different jurisdictions
If you are a high-profile organisation involved in legal dispute, then it’s almost inevitable that the story will go public. At that point, you need to ensure that your communications and legal strategies are in total alignment – a situation that almost certainly calls for specialist expertise. When an international entertainment business became embroiled in a copyright dispute in an emerging market, they turned to Byfield to ensure that their side of the story was accurately represented in the media.
Develop the narrative that will allow you to tell your side of the story effectively.
Understand how the dice may fall - and avoid the dangers of the Pyrrhic victory.
Ensure that your story is aligned across multiple stakeholder groups.
Make sure that this important - but often overlooked - stakeholder group are fully in the loop.
Getting the right content to the right people means the right story is told.
Press Office Function
Litigation PR is not business as usual - take the strain away from in-house teams.
Your story is only as good as the person that tells it - make sure this is done powerfully.
A clear voice in the hubbub of social media allows you to accurately communicate your position.
Whether you have won or lost, you will need to address the changed perceptions among your stakeholder groups.
With operations in the UK, US and the CIS, you can tell your story where it needs to be heard.
Media glare is often a by-product of a high-profile litigation case - we'll help you prepare for the spotlight.