As an attorney, your job is to protect the rights of your client. Depending on the nature of the legal issue, protecting their rights can mean many different things. If your client is a public figure or prominent in their community, more than likely there will be significant media attention if they are arrested or charged with a crime. As a result, their professional and personal reputation may suffer significant damage. This can translate to enormous financial losses as well. If your client is a company, rather than an individual, the brand can suffer by losing market share and revenue as a result of negative publicity.
Not All Publicity Is Good Publicity
Contrary to the old saying that even negative publicity, that’s not always the case. In fact, it often isn’t. It can be invaluable to work with an established PR firm. If your client knows in advance they are likely to be charged with a crime, even while the investigation is still ongoing it’s crucial to reach out to a PR specialist. By taking a proactive position in advance of breaking news about your client, it’s possible to control the narrative. Even beyond damage control, a PR firm can offer a positive take on your client’s situation to the general public and position them in a positive light.
When Your Client Is Tried in the Press
It may not be fair, but the fact is, your prospective jury pool may be learning about your client by watching their local news programs. The only image they may see is of your client in handcuffs with police officers leading him to a patrol car. What message does that send? Unfortunately, not a good one. This is when you can’t afford to delay in taking as much control as possible of public perception. A good PR firm can leverage existing relationships with media representatives to get your client’s version of events in front of the public. This can greatly improve potential jury members’ perception of your client and possibly limit the damage.
Not All PR Firms Are the Same
Though your clients can greatly benefit from the services of a New York PR firm, not every PR firm will be a good fit. Just as attorneys focus on certain areas of the law, the same is often true of PR firms. When considering which firm might best serve your and your client’s needs, you may want to take the following into account:
- Does the PR firm have previous experience representing lawyers or law firms? It’s important that they have at least a general understanding of the law and legal procedures.
- Does the PR firm have contacts who can be of benefit for your client’s situation? For example, if your client is a well respected member of the community, a PR firm can help arrange a benefit or event for the community. An established firm should have a wide range of contacts and established relationships that can offer effective solutions appropriate for your client’s situation.
Contact a PR Firm
Talk to a PR firm about the services they offer and how they may be of assistance to your clients. You may find that they can also help your law firm attract new clients.
Thanks to authors at Goldman McCormick for their insight into Public Relations.