Admit it. If you’re an attorney, you know how difficult it is to prep a client to go on the stand and tell the God’s honest truth about what the sequence of events that brought them to the courtroom actually was. You may advise your client to “keep to the question at hand” or “give short, succinct, factual answers.” They are about to undergo intense scrutiny and examination from your opponent, and how they answer these questions will make a distinct impression on how the jury and judge weighs the case before them.
But what happens when you need your client front and center in the court of public opinion? How do you advise them in the fine art of dealing with the media? Well, you shouldn’t. How many lawyers out there think that being a PR pro is part of their job decription and also prep their clients on how to engage with the media? That would be like me representing myself in court because I think “I’ve seen enough of this stuff on TV. I can handle it.” Wrong.
PR professionals– in this case, media trainers and crisis management specialists– are legitimate experts in this field. If you’re an attorney with a client who is not only facing scrutiny in the courtroom, but also from the media, you need to defer to a pro who knows the ins and outs of developing appropriate (truthful) messages and training your client to be confident, clear, strategic and concise in delivering those messages.
So I recommend, do NOT go it alone. Fielding difficult questions during a cross-examination is completely different from responding to reporters and having the opportunity to get your side of the story out there. Case closed.