Thursday, July 30, 2009

Stopping Rumors When Your Client Can't Talk

Its the age-old quandry; what should a responsible attorney do when rumors and innuendo are swirling around their client but they haven't been charged with anything? To speak or not to speak? In a ravenous 24/7 news media cycle, add an insatiable desire for information, plus a lot of rumors and irrelevant information, plus a client that isn't talking, plus nothing concrete to speak to and you get a loss of control over messaging.

How does a lawyer take that control back? What is the high road in a situation where your client's side of the story will eventually exonerate him or her but that side must be properly told in a court of law, not one of public opinion?

Every case has its individual merits and pitfalls that must be individually addressed but the first step is always to have agreement with everyone on the team about the purpose, message and audience. Then line up people that can speak to your client's character and matters relevant to the investigation. As soon as real facts and reports can come out make the client available to speak to his character, motivations and the current situation- not the specifics of the investigation. With consistent focus and perseverance hopefully the reputation of the client can survive in the court of public opinion until it is time for their defense to reveal itself in the courtroom.

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