What we do

Litigation PR

Have you thought about how PR can help your litigation strategy?

Are you maximising the opportunities that litigation PR can provide on your important cases?

Using the appropriate litigation PR strategy can give you an edge, both in terms of the case, and the publicity that comes with it.

You need expert PR support from a team who can guide you on communication, who understand the nuances of the court process, and have the right media contacts across the country.

Led by CEO Kerry Jack, the Black Letter Communications team are the preferred partner for litigation PR support and strategic advice nationally and internationally on some of the most high-profile cases in recent years.

 

“I always enjoy dealing with Kerry: she is straight-forward, open, and very knowledgeable about how the media works.”
Daniel de Simone, home affairs producer and correspondent, BBC News

 

Litigation PR Experts

We determine the best approach to each case, whether it’s aggressive or defensive, reputation management, or proactive media coverage. Our communications and PR strategies will support your case and leverage the dispute for the best possible outcome for your firm and your clients.

At Black Letter Communications we work with solicitors, barristers and individuals on their litigation PR strategies every day. Whether you’re preparing for an inquest, conducting a civil case against a public body, applying for a judicial review or awaiting judgment from the higher courts, our PR strategies help:

  • Create awareness
  • Elicit public support
  • Put pressure on the other side (when needed)
  • Give your client a voice
  • Protect your client’s reputation
  • Improve your reputation
  • Help attract more of the same type of work.

 

“Not only does the Black Letter team bring in-depth legal knowledge, but their strong writing capabilities and excellent journalist contacts also make a powerful combination.”
David de Menezes, Director of Communications & Marketing, Garden Court Chambers

 

What you’ll get with Black Letter Communications:

  • An honest assessment of how the media will view your case
  • Full compliance with sub judice and contempt of court rules
  • A team respected by the main national print and broadcast channels, led by CEO Kerry Jack
  • Technical expertise to take witness statements, expert reports and judgments, and create timely and powerful copy for the media
  • Transparent fee-structure

 

Our experience is unrivalled across:

  • Inquests
  • Litigation against public bodies
  • Judicial review
  • Group litigation
  • High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court judgments
  • IOPC reports
  • Public inquiries
  • Settlements
  • Crowdfunding
  • Petitions

 

What is Litigation PR

Litigation PR is the ‘management of the communication process during the course of any legal dispute or adjudicatory processing so as to affect the outcome or its impact on the client’s overall reputation’ (Haggerty, 2003).

The understanding and use of litigation PR in the UK has grown considerably over the past 15 years as organisations and their lawyers have seen the benefit of using communications in the litigation process. Its use in the US in commonplace.

Litigation PR differs from corporate PR in that it is tied to supporting and creating influence in relation to a specific legal dispute, rather than general profile raising or reputation management. Litigation PR can, however, have a significant impact on an organisation’s or individual’s reputation.

 

PR and Litigation Strategy

In the face of a potential dispute, a communications strategy needs to be as well-planned and disciplined as the litigation strategy. Integrating the two approaches can help to protect the client’s reputation and also to maximise their chances of reaching a successful conclusion. Fortunately, it is becoming more commonplace for lawyers to work with PR professionals to develop a litigation PR strategy alongside their case strategy.

Even though cases can be broadly categorised by type, the nuances of each individual case can be complex and nothing less than a detailed assessment of all the facts (the good, bad, and ugly) must be made before a strategy can be set.

 

How We Work

Where possible, we try to take an open and robust approach to our litigation PR, but only if the facts of the case merit it. There are many advantages to doing this, namely that it ensures that an individual’s or organisation’s voice and position is heard and shows that they are unafraid to fight the litigation. It also means that a company can control the story’s timing and manner of communications.

However, there will be times when an open and robust approach to litigation PR is not appropriate, and saying nothing will be the best course of action at the time.

Understandably for some lawyers using PR in litigation can feel unnatural. They rightly worry about compliance with sub judice and contempt of court rules and need the reassurance that the litigation PR consultants can bring the technical expertise to understand witness statements, expert reports and judgments, and create timely and powerful copy for the media. This is one of the reasons why there are only a handful of real specialists that know how to deliver this work.

 

Litigation PR Case Studies

CPS disclosure failures:

We highlighted the second rape trial to collapse in less than a month due to disclosure failures by the CPS, resulting in over 300 pieces of coverage for a law firm client including interviews on The Today Programme, The Victoria Derbyshire Show and Channel Four News. The client did not want to be interviewed and so we also handled almost 100 requests to the law firm for interviews.

 

Ella Kissi-Debrah highlighting pollution case and change.org (petition):

The ongoing case of Ella Kissi-Debrah, the nine-year-old London girl who died because of London’s illegal pollution levels, has captured the public imagination. Our team advised the lawyer and Ella’s mother in their quest to persuade the Attorney General to quash Ella’s original inquest and order a fresh one in light of new evidence. One of our media packages with BBC News at One resulted in an additional 50,000 signatures being added to the Change.org petition urging the Attorney General to act.

 

Tunisia Inquests:

Thirty British holidaymakers were massacred in an hour-long gun attack near Sousse in 2015. Seven weeks of inquests into the deaths were held at the High Court. We worked on behalf the lead QC to educate the media about the issues at stake prior to the inquests, acted as a ‘press office’ for media enquiries throughout and arranged many broadcast and print interviews for the QC upon the inquest conclusions.

 

Stephen Port IOPC investigation and murder victims’ inquests:

In November 2016, serial killer Stephen Port was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of four men he met on an online dating site. Soon after we were appointed by the lawyers for the victims’ families to assist them with an ongoing media strategy in relation to the IOPC report, inquests and civil claims. Most recently we have supported a successful crowdfunding campaign for the forthcoming inquests and continue to support the lawyers and the families.

 

Grenfell:

Advice to residents and lawyers in the immediate aftermath and ongoing advice in relation to the inquiry.

 

Carl Sargeant Inquiry and inquest:

Ongoing advice to the lawyers and family of deceased Welsh AM, Carl Sargeant, who killed himself after being removed from his cabinet post.

 

In Amenas Inquest:

In January 2013, militants linked to al-Qaeda attacked the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria. Six of the workers killed were British and one was a Colombian who lived in London. At the Old Bailey inquest, we worked with one of the QCs on behalf of a victim’s family to handle media at the end of the inquest.

 

Landmark Supreme Court decision against the Ministry of Defence:

We devised and delivered the media strategy on behalf of the law firm and its clients when the Supreme Court ruled that families of soldiers killed in Iraq could sue the MoD for damages under human rights legislation and negligence. The story was global news and we followed it up again with a BBC News exclusive when the families received an unprecedented apology from the then Defence Secretary some four years later.

 

Hugo Boss health and safety fine:

We supported the mother of a four-year-old boy at the health and safety hearing into the incident which saw him die when a mirror fell on him at a Hugo Boss store. At the end of the two-day hearing, where the retailer was given the maximum fine possible, the mother asked CEO Kerry Jack to stand in for her as spokesperson to deliver a tribute to her son.

 

Testimonials

I first worked with Black Letter Communications in a previous law firm role and they are now my first-choice agency for PR and communications support. Black Letter has supported my team on a number of high-profile PR projects, such as highlighting our role in the Hillsborough inquests, where they successfully secured a range of insightful pieces about the legal process. Not only does the Black Letter team bring in-depth legal knowledge, but their strong writing capabilities and excellent journalist contacts also make a powerful combination. It’s hugely reassuring to be able to tap into Black Letter’s expertise to complement my in-house team.

David de Menezes, Director of Communications & Marketing, Garden Court Chambers

 

I have worked with Kerry Jack of Black Letter Communications on a number of high-profile legal cases of national significance. Her knowledge of communications and the media is second to none. I am able to rely on Kerry and her team to provide me with excellent advice and guidance which assists me greatly with my day-to-day work. The team at Black Letter are always on hand whenever I contact them and I know that I can rely upon them for professional, dependable and friendly service.

Andrew Petherbridge, Head of Civil Liberties, Hudgell Solicitors

 

I always enjoy dealing with Kerry: she is straight-forward, open, and very knowledgeable about how the media works.

Daniel de Simone, home affairs producer and correspondent, BBC News

 

I worked with Kerry on a long terrorist atrocity inquest. She was impressive, helpful and achieved our objectives.

Andrew Ritchie QC