Currently, there is legislation pending (Michigan Senate Bill No. 7) which would require public employers to contribute no more than 80% toward the cost of health insurance for their employees. If this becomes law, numerous public employees will be required to begin contributing at least 20% toward their health insurance costs. This legislation is written with an effective date of January 1, 2013.
A litigation communications plan, blends both legal expertise and media savvy, by helping to frame messages during the litigation to help preserve, protect and enhance the reputation of the parties.
Today’s business environment demands an aggressive strategy to resolve issues legally while protecting one’s reputation publicly. As a result, lawyers need to be more than legal counselors or advocates. They need to be familiar enough with how perception is created within the public eye and how to use the media effectively to manage that perception. Therefore, the potential impact any litigation will have on a client’s image, reputation, investor relations and future business must be considered in creating a legal strategy.
The best plans don’t have automatic responses, but a number of questions for the crisis team to ask, such as:
- What are the business goals in addressing this crisis?
- Who do we need to help?
- What information has been gathered?
- What don’t we know?
- Who can help us?
- What must we do now to protect our employees, customers and shareholders?
Companies today face increased challenges from regulatory and legislative authorities. Likewise, legal issues continue to permeate the headlines, often in inaccurate and oversimplified treatments placing brands, businesses and reputations at risk.
Should lawyers represent their client’s outside the courtroom, they have to become comfortable in talking freely about their client’s case without jeopardizing legal outcomes. Lawyers in general are trained to be reticent, answer only the questions asked and to give no more information than is necessary. In the face of the media and those who rely on it, however, expansive information and open communication can serve the client better than creating an appearance that the client has something to hide and, worse is hiding behind a lawyer.