As we mentioned last night, there is an interesting debate over what White & Case should have done in response to the adulterous sex scandal involving its associate, “Miami White.” The Daily Business Review takes a look at some of the competing theories for crisis management:
For White & Case, the unwanted publicity raises a question all law firm managers and public relations professionals should consider: If an employee’s dirty laundry gets a public airing, how can a law firm respond to minimize the damage?
When asked about the matter, White & Case spokesman William Sancho in Miami offered a brusque “no comment.”
Hours later, an official firm statement came out: “This is a personal matter for the individual involved, and we cannot comment on it.”
It wasn’t really surprising when White & Case declined to respond to the affairs of SexyLexus. But I wonder if Miami White was told by the firm that he couldn’t comment in the press? Cuckolded in Canada said his piece, SexyLexus called in, but multiple phone calls and emails to Miami White have not been returned.
Regardless of the particular plight of Miami White, should White & Case have gone in a different direction? Let’s get into it after the jump.
Some people think that White & Case should have adopted a more aggressive press strategy:
Todd Templin, executive vice president of Boardroom Communications in Plantation, said he would have counseled the firm to take a different approach.
“I would make it clear the actions of the attorney are an embarrassment to the firm, and I’d make the point that they are not indicative of the values and quality legal work that the firm is known for,” he said….
“If you don’t tell your story, someone else will,” explained Chris Marlin, who heads the Miami office of Sitrick & Co., a public relations firm specializing in crisis communications. “It’s rare that ignoring a situation that is as open and notorious as this gets you any benefit.”
But, if there is a problem for White & Case, it rests in the eyes of their clients. And nobody really expects White & Case clients to leave the firm because of the alleged sex life of one of its associates.
The optics are not good for White & Case:
While clients probably won’t bolt over the “Miami White” scandal, it hardly projects the image of stability and discretion most law firms work hard to cultivate, said Jonathan Groner, a law firm public relations consultant in Washington.
“Any law firm these days, just like any corporation, needs to protect its reputation,” he said.
But would a public statement really help the firm?
Do you think White & Case should have gone in front of the sex scandal story?
Business of Law [Daily Business Review]
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SexyLexus Speaks With Above the Law: ‘I am not a whore.’