1928e537Litigators: a recent survey by public relations firm Greentarget highlights the opportunity to be proactive with your clients, says Senior Vice President and head of the firm’s Crisis & Litigation Communications Group, Larry Larsen.

The survey itself focused on the intersection between communications planning and reputation in high-profile lawsuits, and revealed that a lack of planning outside of the courtroom, not surprisingly, can lead to damaging a company’s image. From Greentarget’s press release:

[W]hile senior legal officers acknowledge the importance of communications with stakeholders during high-profile lawsuits, the majority have outdated strategies or no strategies at all to direct communications outside of court.

This lack of preparation leads to an overly conservative approach defined by decisions and actions that are often impulsive and governed by the fear of negative media attention. Ironically, these instincts can compound the likelihood of reputational damage.

This vicious cycle – an increasing number of high-profile lawsuits, deficient planning, conservative approaches, and the resulting potential negative attention – is exacerbated by the lack of accountability at most organizations.  The majority of respondents said that they are not ultimately responsible for communications strategy outside of court. They stated that other senior leaders in their organizations have final authority and that their CEOs were either actively involved throughout litigation or at least engaged major decisions.”

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