29 Oct

When catastrophe strikes, should you call your lawyer or your PR?

There is an essential balance in between restricting legal liability for the business and its directors and handling the business’s strength in an unforgiving media environment.

A lot of business get on the phone to their lawyer when unfavorable details goes out into the general public’s hands – a current example of this is the handling of the Sports Direct zero-hours agreement and pay scandal.

This strategy is to make sure that restricted details is revealed which the liability of the lawyer’s customer is kept to a minimum– however is this properly to manage a crisis?

Portrait of lawyers

The lawyer’s task is to safeguard its customer initially and foremost, the public and the media require to be dealt with extremely thoroughly – stonewalling can be seen as protective and secured, this can send out the incorrect unmentioned message to the public enabling them to form a judgment without understanding the realities.

Furthermore, legal lingo can be viewed as abstract or, even worse, a way of deflecting attention.

A various method used by some business is to have their PR professional dive to the cutting edge to release a declaration to the general public– an example being how TalkTalk managed its hacking scandal.

There are fundamental threats with this method – the legal and reputational ramifications of stating excessive prematurely or providing an apology where there is no regret might harm credibility before all the truths are understood even to the business in crisis.

It does not matter how great the attorneys remain in this circumstance, the damage is currently done and can be of disastrous magnitude.

The balance to be struck remains in having the attorneys and the PR workers operate in cohesion to develop an incorporated crisis interaction strategy to a set of predetermined actions for managing a developing or real-time crisis.

lawyer-1Getting attorneys around the table with PRs and running a situation preparation exercise enables open conversation and the straightening out of any distinctions before those distinctions surface area throughout a crisis when the business most requires a basic strategy to carry out.

The technique that c-suite choice makers must take is to integrate the strengths of both advisors to make great management options pre and post crisis to safeguard the business from all angles of direct exposure.

This is even more efficient if the business deals with these consultants as part of their group, tweaking and changing method in line with the managements concurred danger profile.

There ought to be no reason both attorneys and PRs cannot concentrate on supplying preparation options together.