The Times daily newsletter The Brief today carries a good piece from PR giants Edelman, calling on litigators to remember the need for PR when fighting major court cases.
The argument goes that court cases are no longer won on legal argument alone. The 'court of public opinion' plays an important role.
He is absolutely right.
This is more than just a piece appearing in a national newspaper painting one party in a sympathetic light - the victim in a dispute. It is about monitoring the debate on social media, correcting inaccuracies, and responding where appropriate.
Reputation is often at the heart of a dispute, and that can be threatened even if a court case is successful.
In the protection of corporate and personal reputations, legal requirements are generally well understood: you need a good law firm to fight your corner. But still not fully understood is how communications can support a case. Ignore that side of the coin, and you may end up counting the financial cost later. The world is becoming more litigious. Everywhere you turn someone is arguing with someone else. “Hire more lawyers,” has been the historic response. And indeed, that may once have been the best solution, when legal issues were won by the black letter of the law alone.