Litigants entering a courtroom, where their case will unfold before a judge or jury, are often accompanied by armies of lawyers wielding reams of briefs, boxes of exhibits, and sophisticated legal arguments.
But outside the courtroom, these same litigants have traditionally been armed with nothing more than a terse “no comment.”
Certainly the stakes are high in both arenas. But while thousands of hours go into preparing for the outcome of a court case, the impact of that case on reputation has historically been an afterthought – or a matter on which litigants and their lawyers simply put their heads in the sand.
For companies facing enterprise-threatening litigation, best practice today is to support legal strategies with communications plans targeting key stakeholders, including the media, investors, regulators, elected officials and employees. These efforts help create a narrative that connects with stakeholders’ world views and frames the critical issues in a way that makes the legal arguments understandable, and perhaps even appealing. Communications outside the courtroom can be tricky, particularly when a company is fighting on multiple fronts and anything said in one forum can have implications in another. But time and again, we’ve seen that litigants who prioritize the outside world – with its echo chamber of 24-hour news and digital, user-led discussions – better weather the litigation storm.
We learn a lot from the people in this issue and from our clients around the world, who every day are working to find the right balance between communications inside and outside the courtroom. We hope you enjoy this edition of Spotlight and, as always, welcome your feedback.
Ellen Moskowitz and Jonathan Glass lead Brunswick's global Litigation Communications practice
Illustration: Brian Stauffer