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The Power of Litigation PR

While not all legal cases will attract the media or play out in ‘the court of public opinion’ to the same extent as some cases, e.g., the Depp vs. Heard case, personal, financial, and corporate litigation can easily make headlines and create a legacy [good or bad] for those involved.

From a communications perspective, litigation is similar to any other issue, but there are a few added complexities to consider such as the sensitive rules around disclosure during court proceedings, and the legal implications of any communication about the case itself. Aside from that, at the heart of litigation PR is the management of the communications process to secure and protect the reputation of the company or individuals involved.

Negative publicity about a company or individual can lead to reputation harm that even a legal win in court might never be able to restore.

The recent Mainzeal case, in which we had the privilege to work alongside the liquidators and litigation funders, and other notable cases such as the Kiwifruit Claim which held the Crown accountable for PSA, demonstrate the pivotal role of PR during litigation.

In both of these cases and others, our approach is to guide the client and legal team on communication and develop the relevant strategy in terms of the stage of the case and the public interest that might come with that.

Man holding a TV Camera

Importantly, whatever approach is taken must align with the legal process and not be counterproductive to the proceedings themselves. Sometimes, the goal might be to keep any mention of the case out of the public eye completely, other times it’s about gaining accurate and timely media coverage.

Regardless of the specific legal context, we will always thoroughly evaluate the potential reputation risks, which means working closely with the legal team and assessing the environment – looking at media coverage, online presence, comments, feedback, and background information. This helps us to gain insights into potential sources of negative comment, level of media interest and parties with vested interests.

The communication and litigation PR strategy will be unique for every case. When a case is already in the public arena, there’s often a necessity to proactively communicate to control the narrative and guide how the case is portrayed. However, there are also instances where its more beneficial to maintain a lower profile and only engage if the situation requires it.

Picture of the inside of a courtroom

High-profile legal cases, or any litigation that attracts media interest, will attract the attention of multiple stakeholders – from investors and creditors to employees and the general public. The Mainzeal case and Kiwifruit Claim are good examples of PR's evolving role in litigation.

Litigation PR balances these diverse interests with the communications restrictions surrounding the proceedings themselves.

Effective PR can be powerful as it helps maintain trust among stakeholders by informing them strategically and timely about the progress of litigation and its potential impact on their interests.


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