While there are hundreds of active cases going on in certain cities across the country on any given day, certain cases tend to draw far more attention from the general public than others. If you happen to be working on a case that is receiving a lot of attention from the general public and media, you are bound to be approached by members of the media to give insight and your opinions. While this is inevitable, it is also a difficult situation as you do not want to give away too much or the wrong information. When you are working on a high-profile case, there are several tips that you should follow that will help you to better deal with the media.
When it comes to dealing with the media, the first thing that you will want to do is check your firm’s policy. All legal firms will have a different policy that will instruct you on how to deal with questions from the media. Some firms will have a strict policy that will say you can never deal with the media while others may suggest that all comments are made by the lead attorney. If you are not able to follow the rules set forth by the firm, you could end up jeopardizing your position on the case and with your job entirely.
While it is important to make sure that you are in compliance with the policies set forth by your firm, you should also do what your client wants. Ultimately, all attorneys and legal firms are working for their clients and should put the client’s needs first. In some cases, this could mean making a statement to the press and in other situations in could mean not speaking to the press at all. It is important that you discuss your media strategy with your client to ensure that all parties are on the same page.
Another very important factor to take into consideration when speaking to the media is about revealing confidential information. While there are some trials that are open to the media and general public, there are others that are not. If your case contains details that are meant to stay private, it is important that you continue to keep the privacy in mind until you are permitted to make the details public. If you do not keep some of these key details private, you could put the whole trial at risk.
Other Party Comments:
Finally, when you are considering making statements to the media during litigation, you also need to consider whether the other party has been vocal with the media. If the other party’s counsel during the trial is making statements that are detrimental about your client, you will have the right and responsibility to defend your client. However, you need to remember to keep your comments civil and mature, even if the other party is making unnecessary comments that you and your client could be offended by.
Jay Sekulow is the Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law & Justice.