Whether it’s a rogue lawyer behaving badly or a negative headline that rocks a firm’s reputation, law firms have to be prepared when a crisis hits. And the bigger the story, the more a law firm has to invest in responding to the crisis to ensure the damage done to its brand does not result in a permanent stain. After all, trust is the glue that holds the attorney-client relationship together, and negative news is a surefire way to undo years — if not decades — of exceptional work.

Fortunately, you don’t have to face a crisis blindly. There are some best practices that law firms should implement in the event of a crisis. Here are a few essential reminders.

  • Plan Ahead: Have as much structure in place as possible — before a crisis occurs — but be ready to change direction quickly.
  • Build Your Team: A crisis plan needs to identify a crisis team made up of members with unique roles. Team members should include at minimum a lawyer, firm leader(s), PR professional and a designated spokesperson. Depending on the situation, others will be involved.
  • Get the Facts and Communicate: Learn what happened. Have a general holding statement ready to share that addresses what you know now, and when updates or a final resolution can be shared. Also, include a sincere apology, if warranted.

How can Jaffe help you with crisis management?

When potentially damaging news threatens your law firm, Jaffe’s team of highly experienced crisis communicators is here to help. We develop effective response strategies for all kinds of crises, from partner defections and allegations of misconduct to pending litigation or other sensitive issues. We also regularly advise our law firm clients’ clients in their crisis matters. Our crisis management professionals provide media training as well as monitoring, so you know where public perception of your firm stands when it matters most.

Need help preparing a plan or facing a crisis that requires strategy support? For more information about our crisis management services, contact Vivian Hood, Owner/CEO, Public Relations, at vhood@jaffepr.com