Litigation PR makes its debut in Madison County

Christina Stueve Apr. 6, 2012, 6:39am


Grandone Public Relations & Strategic Counsel has changed its name to Grandone Strategies, Inc. and added "Litigation PR" as a specialty focus.

The firm has more than six years of experience representing a Missouri law firm in litigation, five years representing a Chicagoland firm and six years working with various national firms on a commercial airline disaster.

Grandone Strategies served as lead media relations for defendants accused under RICO and other federal and state laws of causing a commercial airline disaster resulting in significant loss of life.

The client was eventually acquitted. In addition, the firm has successfully assisted in support of litigation on fire and police pension cases in Missouri and Illinois.

"The court of public opinion is equally important to the judicial courts where citizens on a jury decide the fate of many accused," said Jim Grandone, owner of the firm.

Grandone says that many lawyers miss opportunities to make their case to the people.

"The content of many documents filed in a lawsuit are public records, however, attorneys regularly respond by saying "no comment" when given the opportunity to make their case in the public.

"Grandone Strategies shows them how to affirmatively use the information filed in those documents to comment and inform the public and the potential jurors why they should prevail in court," he said.

"The increasing attention by the news media to lawsuits and trials make the saying "We're not trying this case in the media" a quaint holdover from another era, he said.

Some firms cite client confidentiality for not commenting on settlements, when in fact, the firm often puts that restriction on the settlement itself, Grandone said.

"Why, with the consent of your client of course, would you not announce a win?" Different jurisdictions have different rules of professional conduct that must be respected; however, Grandone believes much of the dearth of news about legal proceedings, especially favorable news, is self-imposed for fear of violating misunderstood rules."

Grandone said that in the case of the commercial airliner disaster, the client was in various state and federal courts, as well as a congressional hearing, for a period of more than six years.

At one point, a district attorney announced that the client would be charged with 110 counts of murder and 110 counts of manslaughter.

"We responded by saying, "This was an accident; not a crime." A quote that carried the day in the media and helped position the client's winning message, Grandone said.

Those charges were never pursued, he said.

"Prior to that, the verdict among the public was in before the facts and we had to reverse that situation quickly," Grandone said.

In addition to helping attorneys get their best message across to decision makers, including judges and prospective jurors through the news media, Grandone Strategies, works with the attorney's clients to hone their message to ensure accuracy, clarity and conciseness.

Jim Grandone, owner of Grandone Strategies, has worked in media and professional public relations since 1985.

He is past president of the St. Louis Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators, the professional communications association of business.

The company will continue to provide media relations services to its clients. It can be reached by calling (618) 692-1892.

More News