You may not recognize the name of attorney Mike Moore, but you should, He is responsible for more than $250 billion – yes, a quarter of a trillion dollars – in settlements for his clients, including those harmed by “Big Tobacco” and BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
How does an attorney accomplish that? Bill Whitaker from “60 Minutes” recently profiled Moore, and Whitaker noted that Moore did it partly by going to court, but mostly by going public. Said Moore: “A case in court is a case in court, and that is fine, but there is also the court of public opinion. And the court of public opinion is sometimes the most powerful court.”
So what’s the lesson? Savvy lawyers use media strategically to add pressure on companies experiencing a crisis to force a settlement before it gets to trial. It is important that legal counsel understand how to work with PR partners to respond and take back control of the media narrative.
We work with attorneys almost every day as part of our Crisis Communication and Reputation Management practice. Working hand-in-hand with attorney helps both us and them understand how to pivot from playing defense to playing offense when it comes to the public relations and public opinion elements.
Jeremy Story is a Vice President at GroundFloor Media, where he co-leads the firm’s Crisis Communication & Reputation Management practice. He has more than 20 years experience helping companies ranging from start-ups to the Fortune 100 prepare for, manage, and recover from crisis issues.