There are celebrity lawyers famous for being tagged to media-publicized cases or being engaged by celebrity clients. People remember names and faces of attorneys of celebrity clients or clients in sensational cases. This name recall leads to huge financial opportunities, a plethora of well-heeled clients, and even new career options. Successful lawyers write books, act as media analysts, and participate in reality shows, thereby becoming famous or infamous with many lucrative assignments.
The opportunity to represent high-profile and media-savvy clients on the public platform, often presents exciting career opportunities. Attorneys like Michael Avenatti, who defends risqué film actress Stormy Daniels, enjoy talking about their cases on TV as media glare on the public platform is used to garner public sympathy of their client and publicity to their firm’s advantage.
Ensuring a Fair Trial
Attorneys exposed to limelight glare, remain aware about challenges posed by defending celebrities and missteps which damage stakeholder reputations. Attorneys are easily swayed by media access, spending valuable billing hours on building favourable public opinion instead of focusing on court-related issues when the case is tried. Attorneys often risk violating ethical guidelines involving client confidentiality, being under-prepared for trial, and making out-of-turn or extra-judicial pre-trial comments. Media management is challenging for celebrity attorneys when media- attention is focused on the client, and lawyers could face salacious misconduct allegations. With the media attention in criminal cases, trial courts could curtail pre-trial publicity by imposing gag orders, restrict media reports and even seal courtroom access. Trial courts try to conduct fair trials despite tensions due to pre-trial publicity. Defendants enjoy constitutional rights, but open courts are integral to the American judicial system. Trial courts are armed with an array of tools to ensure even-handed justice in high-profile cases, with different courts handling issues involved, differently.
Not by legal skills alone
Court opinions and empirical studies reveal that large jury pools rarely are completely influenced by media coverage, and media publicity has low-impact on juries in practice. Trial courts can impose secrecy norms in such circumstances. A celebrity in high profile criminal trials often assembles a team of professionals and not just lawyers. In high profile criminal case while representing a celebrity, the lawyer gauges not only the case disposition, but also public perception of the disposition. A celeb client arrested for child molestation, may possibly be exonerated, but could destroy his career due to the arrest. A seasoned crisis public relations consultant skilfully managing news coverage, ensuring that the client wins the case in court, and also in the court of public opinion.
Avoiding legal spin
Celebrities are accustomed to servile deference and love being always in control. Hence, attorneys must always ensure that clients remain candid with them. Maintaining client control and control of outside PR handlers, is a massive challenge as PR professionals like to spin things without helping the client’s cause. All team members must sacrifice egos and personal agendas, and work for client betterment under directions of the criminal defence lawyer in charge of the case. Maintaining team unity for the common goal is critical. The celebrity team from managers to PR hacks must remain in tune with the legal strategy. Attorneys must learn when to give in and when to say no.