The sanctity of the courtroom has been invaded by the Internet and the use of social media. Courtroom justice is played out across the globe in the nanoseconds it takes to put information online for use and abuse by interested and committed parties.

The rise of online communications and social media have changed how the world communicates and profoundly affected how individuals and organizations engage with one another; with their customers, supporters, adversaries, and competitors; and, in the context of litigation, as advocates, legal opponents, judges, and jurors. How does counsel and their clients deal with the explosion of information in bits and bytes? How can a company balance the legal risks with the financial and reputational risks that accompany almost any legal action in a world driven by social media empowered stakeholders?

This article examines the rapidly emerging new challenges facing attorneys and their clients trying to manage litigation in an online and social media-driven world. We then outline the six key components of an effective response to the challenges for defense lawyers created by the rise of social media

  • Monitoring and surveillance;
  • Connect the dots;
  • Risk/opportunity stakeholder analysis;
  • Scenario planning;
  • Stakeholder engagement plan;
  • Close cross-functional coordination using clear processes and procedures.

Collectively, these actions are the foundation of a tested approach to successfully communicating about difficult legal situations in a way that minimizes the collective risk to an organization.

Download the full article (PDF) as it originally appeared in In-House Defense Quarterly (republished here with permission): Effectively Managing the Social Media Invasion of the Legal System


Social Media in the Legal System

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Kent Jarrell

Kent Jarrell, executive director, is APCO Worldwide’s global crisis management and litigation communications practice lead based in Washington. Read More