Bottom line: When attorneys get wind of breaking news that is unfavorable to an adversary in one of their clients’ cases, they should newsjack that breaking news by going to the media and making their client’s case in the Court of Public Opinion.

Pop quiz!

An adversary in one of your clients’ cases is in the news for alleged misconduct outside of the claims you’ve raised in that case.

Do you go to the media regarding this most recent round of your adversary’s alleged misconduct?

You sure do.

When you are involved in any case, high-profile or not, and you become aware of an adversary being accused of misconduct in some context OUTSIDE of your client’s case, you have an excellent opportunity to make your client’s case publicly and tell your client’s side of the story again.

Remember, as an attorney focused on the Court of Public Opinion, you want to take advantage of every opportunity that exists for you to make your client’s case and to tell your client’s side of the story outside of court.

Most of the time, that’s going to be in connection with developments in a client’s case.

But there are other times when you can become a go-to person for the media regarding an adversary’s alleged wrongdoing. You almost become a subject-matter expert on that person or entity, and their alleged misconduct.

A great example of this was during the height of the Stormy Daniels litigation against Donald Trump and related parties.

You may recall that whenever Donald Trump, Michael Cohen, or anybody else related to that lawsuit did something, Michael Avenatti was there on cable news and in print and online providing comment about Trump, Cohen, Rudy Giuliani, or somebody else, even when the alleged misconduct he was commenting on was seemingly unrelated to his client’s case.

A funny thing happens when you frequently provide comment on alleged misconduct by an adversary. The media starts coming to you proactively and tells you that they think they have a story, or that they heard a tip, about some alleged misconduct.

They’ll then ask you if you have anything to say about it, or they’ll ask if you have any information that might help them blow out that story and make it into something that they can publish.

When you become aware of allegations of misconduct or wrongdoing on the part of an adversary in one of your clients’ cases, it’s fairly easy to get the ball rolling with the media by newsjacking the allegations.

Simply email either the reporter who’s covered your case before or email the reporter who has covered the adversary before.

Once you have gotten a hold of the reporter, tell him or her that you saw this other article, or that you heard this nugget of information, and you are happy to provide comment if the reporter so chooses.

As I alluded to, sometimes reporters will come proactively to you and say “Hi, so-and-so. I know that you have a lawsuit pending against Joe Blow. We’ve received some tips about some additional misconduct on the part of Joe Blow. Do you care to comment?”

Again, “I would absolutely care to comment” is your answer.

But keep in mind the following.

Your job is not to dive deeply into the new allegations lodged against your adversary. That’s not your concern. All you want to do is connect the dots between the new allegations and the allegations or defenses that you’ve made in your client’s case.

You want to use these new allegations of misconduct to continue weaving the narrative that you’ve already started weaving in your client’s case.

If you decide to not take advantage of such an opportunity, you are missing an opportunity to tell your client’s side of the story again, and an opportunity to further hammer home their position in the case and why the client thinks they’re on the right side of the dispute.

Additionally, if you decide to not take advantage of such an opportunity, you are wasting a great marketing opportunity. Here, you can go to the media and be seen in the public by prospective clients and referral sources as someone who takes this adversary on publicly, is vocal on behalf of his or her clients, and provides strong and zealous public advocacy on behalf of those clients.

So again, the answer to that pop quiz question is “yes.”

Whenever you are contacted or you see allegations of misconduct or wrongdoing on the part of an adversary in one of your clients’ cases, I highly recommend that you go to the media or you answer any incoming media calls about those allegations. In other words, newsjack those allegations.

Do it ethically. Don’t defame anyone.

And be sure to connect the dots between those new allegations and your client’s side of the story.

Bottom line: When attorneys get wind of breaking news that is unfavorable to an adversary in one of their clients’ cases, they should newsjack that breaking news by going to the media and making their client’s case in the Court of Public Opinion.

Wayne Pollock is the founder and managing attorney of Copo Strategies in Philadelphia, a national legal services and communications firm. Attorneys, law firms, and their clients enlist Copo Strategies to ethically, proactively, and strategically engage the media and the public regarding those clients’ cases (to help resolve those cases favorably), and to engage the media, referral sources, and prospective clients regarding their firms (to help bring new client matters in the door). Contact him at waynepollock@copostrategies.com or 215–454–2180.