In today's toxic media environment, even an innocent misunderstanding—the mere flicker of public disapproval—can hurt a company's reputation. Therefore, it's important to take care when considering the impact of a lawsuit on your brand. Let's consider a few ways to minimize the damage it may cause.
Start drafting talking points, press releases, and other materials that explain your position for each stage of litigation—a statement on filing, one for a settlement, two for a result (a losing and prevailing version). You may not use any of these, but it's better to have something ready than scramble under pressure. And by starting early, you have time to align your vision of the litigation's impact and your counsel's understanding of the outcome.
And if you are against working with the media, prepare internal versions of these documents so that you can respond to questions from employees, investors, vendors, and others.
Keep track of conversations about your company and the lawsuit online in social media and traditional press. Consider hiring a media monitoring or “clips service” to send you a review of the coverage. While free options such as Google Alerts can find some articles, these alerts don't include social media and may not come in as quickly as you need.
Resist the Temptation
However, resist the temptation to respond to every negative comment. Instead, draft a proposed response, then review it with counsel before you do anything with it. That's particularly important if you're involved in a jury trial or cases where witness influence or credibility is at issue.
Continue the Work
Demonstrate that, regardless of the litigation, the work of the company continues. Consider how you can proactively take reforms or improvements that will address the issues in the suit. Talk to your attorney before doing anything, but if you can make some changes without hurting your case, then the lawsuit is about old news and circumstances that the company has already learned from and moved on.
If you're thinking about the larger ramifications of a lawsuit or other decisions that may impact your company, make sure your lawyer shares this longer view. Call John Marshall, Attorney at Law, at 949-724-1116 or send us an email through the website to schedule a consultation.