Lawyerly Advice: Get Third Parties Ready in Advance

As digital communications have made litigation crises almost immediate and global, it's imperative to have the right resources—from digital to human—at ready. Here are crisis litigation best practices from crisis expert Richard Levick, president and CEO of Levick Strategic Communications:

Enlist potential third-party supporters ahead of time. There might be cases where neither the client nor outside counsel can speak on the record. Disinterested credible voices may then be needed to publicly speak or publish on your behalf.

Prepare Web resources to update key audiences. Keep reporters, employees, customers and business partners in the digital loop on case developments. As needed, set up “dark sites,” which are Web sites fully formatted and ready to launch.

Fully optimize your online communications tools. If and when your team decides to issue a public statement or response, you will reach the greatest number of search engine users with interest in the litigation.

Media train all spokespersons, including the lawyers. They customarily practice their opening and closing arguments before going to court. They need to be equally prepared to present their case in the court of public opinion.

If the lawsuit goes to trial, make sure that communications professionals attend each day. Ensure that favorable testimony can be transcribed on-site for distribution to all reporters in the audience.

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