High Profile – The Ego Dilemma

An excellent discussion of high profile criminal cases by Mark Bennett.  While there is a definite skill set that’s acquired from dealing with the media when necessary, his points are well taken.  The first time a lawyer gets a high profile case, there is the ego factor.  The initial blush of attention is quite an ego boost.  But eventually, the bloom is off the rose.

It is almost always in the client’s best interest to avoid media attention whenever possible.  Contrary to the client’s wishful belief, the media is rarely the friend of the defendant, and the media is seldom willing to be controlled or manipulated.  If anything, the defendant is the lunch meat in the media sandwich.

When the case is destined to be in the media no matter what you do, then knowing how to play the game, and who the players in the game really are, is critical.  There is no appeal from the court of public opinion.  Nor are there any “do-overs” when the wrong words flow from the unskilled lawyer’s mouth.  I have seen many, many lawyers who are enthralled with the attention and fail to realize the harm they are doing to their client and their case.  The biggest mistake is to think anyone cares about the lawyer.  With a few notable exceptions, the lawyer is soon forgotten as just another guy in a suit (or gal in a dress, as the case may be).

And while the lawyer is posturing for the camera, his bread and butter clients fear that they are too unimportant for this now “famous” lawyer and go find someone else to service their mundane needs.  So if you find yourself in this situation, enjoy the fifteen minutes as you will likely be paying the price for a long time afterward.

One thought on “High Profile – The Ego Dilemma

  1. Mark Bennett

    SHG,

    You’re entirely correct that there is a skill set involved in dealing with the media. I just organized a seminar at which some masters at winning in the media spoke. The most important strategic lesson was this: don’t start trying your client’s case in the media until you’re prepared to win it.

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