You have just won a major defense verdict! You’re a hero!
The world will know about it! You will add this victory to your permanent bio. Keep customers left and right! Surely this win will fuel the rest of your career.
“The American Lawyer” would like to name you Litigator of the Week. Your law firm will compete for the Litigation Department of the Year award.
That’s great! Let’s publish the profit!
Then talk to your customer. (You talk to the customer, don’t you, before your company’s advertising machine goes into action?) The lawsuit, after all, was against the customer. It’s the client’s case, and the client paid the exorbitant fees your company made for the privilege of trying the case.
The client prefers that you do not publish the victory in the negotiation.
What is that damn customer thinking?
It does little good for a client to publish a defense judgment in court. Perhaps – maybe – a prospective plaintiff’s attorney will research the client on the Internet, decide that the client has the courage to judge the occasional large case, and therefore decide not to sue. But that is a very minor, and possibly nonexistent, benefit.
On the other hand, it does reasonable harm to a customer that is associated with litigation. If your customer is a corporate defendant, the fact that a case has been filed likely reflects the customer badly. Someone thought the client’s drug was improperly designed and was hurting someone; that the construction was bad and the roof was leaking; that the doctor’s services were no match for the snuff that hurt someone. By definition, your client was a defendant; Is it really good having a corporate defendant’s name associated with litigation (successful or not)?
So think twice before instinctively sending press releases to the world yelling about your victory from the mountaintops.
It is true that you won. It is true that the defense judgment is a feather in your cap. It is true that you want to brag about victory in order to generate fame and potential fortune.
But you’re not the only one with skin in this game.
See litigation victories from the corporate defendant’s perspective and you may understand why publicizing your victory is not necessarily in your client’s best interests.
Mark Herrmann spent 17 years as a partner in a leading international law firm and is now Deputy General Counsel in a large international company. He is the author of The Curmudgeon Guide to Legal Practice and Litigation liability strategy for drug and device productsY. (Affiliate links). You can reach him by email at [email protected].