Law firm media relations & communications

March 26, 2010

Legal ‘speed dating,’ or why not all publicity is good publicity

Filed under: Media coverage — John Tuerck @ 3:49 pm

Toyota’s purported problem with the sudden acceleration of several of its models has been a PR debacle for the company. To some extent, this is a self-inflicted wound, as the Japanese automaker was slow to respond to the building crisis and only grudgingly addressed the issue months after it surfaced.

At the same time, the lawyers lining up to represent prospective plaintiffs in litigation against the company hardly bathed themselves in glory in today’s Wall Street Journal. In “Lawyers Play Speed-Date in Toyota Suit Tussle,” writer Dionne Searcey paints an unflattering portrait of plaintiffs’ lawyers jockeying before a panel of federal judges in San Diego for the sake of consolidating the various suits in their preferred venue — all to put themselves in the best position to reap the anticipated attorneys’ fees generated by the complex litigation. A Los Angeles lawyer cited in the story compared the scene to the “floor of the New York Stock Exchange.”

Toyota has only recently righted the ship in the PR battle to repair its tarnished image. Stories of fee-seeking plaintiffs’ lawyers bellying up to the bar will only help the beleaguered automaker, which goes to show that for lawyers involved in high-profile ¬†litigation, silence can be golden.

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