In any litigation, be it personal or business related, there will be a rush to judgement: the news media abhors a vacuum and commentators will be queuing up to fill the column inches the case might generate.
And there are a range of different stakeholders – employees, investors, business partners or family – in urgent need of reassurance. That reassurance – and the narrative that underpins it – is what Byfield provides.
Please contact Gus Sellitto for further information.
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.
“I have never been less than impressed by Richard Elsen. Highly sensitive to the client’s needs, he always knows which buttons to push and when to push them. The Byfield team is responsive and really understand how to manage the media in very highly polarised situations. ”
James Laddie QC, Matrix Chambers
Protecting IP through the courts and the media
A leading British designer of high quality leather accessories approached us when a former manufacturing partner set up a competing business: not only were they in violation of copyright but they were also not responding to initial action by the client’s solicitors. We were brought in to create an effective media campaign that would exert pressure on the company to respond to the case being brought against them.
Using our established connections at the national level we placed an in-depth article on the story in the Financial Times. This coverage allowed us to disseminate the information within the wider fashion world, including leading blogs. The result of the ongoing media interest placed significant pressure on the defendant whose business practices were called into question and whose reputation suffered as a result of the media coverage. In the event, the defendant settled the case very quickly.
Whilst we cannot repair the trust that is broken in these situations, we can accelerate a resolution of the problem so that you can get back to normal.
Communicating an international rights dispute for a high profile entertainment company
Byfield helped a client assert its rights over content in a high-profile dispute against a media group based in an emerging market. We were asked to advise them in a High Court hearing in London which concerned alleged breach of contract and non-payment of fees.
Working closely with their legal team, we drew up a detailed communications strategy that supported the legal argument. This ensured that the client’s position was properly understood by the media, and that the trial was fairly and accurately reported. Working with the media both before and after the hearing guaranteed that the client’s reputation was preserved in a situation that could have been misrepresented as a David and Goliath battle.
Ultimately, the client had a positive legal outcome and suffered no reputational damage.
Preparing an employer for a potentially high profile employment dispute
Byfield was called in by a Tech company facing unfounded allegations made by a disgruntled former employee, which had the potential to seriously damage the standing of the company. They were accused of financial impropriety and were facing an Employment Tribunal claim after the employee abruptly resigned his position.
Byfield quickly assessed the situation and began the all-important preparatory work necessary to underpin a containment strategy which would minimise reputational damage to the company. It became apparent that the individual was no stranger to the Employment Tribunal, having brought failed claims in the past against former employers.
By the eve of the Employment Tribunal hearing Byfield had prepared all the necessary collateral – Q&A, statements, scenario planning and draft press releases – to ensure that we would be in a position to react to potentially hostile media enquiries.
In the event the case settled at the doors of the Employment Tribunal, just prior to the hearing, but by then the client knew that they were well prepared and that Byfield would engage the media on their behalf if necessary.
The preparation – like a good insurance policy – was comprehensive, there and ready, but happily not required to be acted upon.