Luber: Hey everyone, Marc Luber here. Today
on JD Careers Out there, we’re looking at an alternative legal career. We’re going
to explore the special niche within public relations that’s known as litigation and
crisis communications. This is interesting stuff so stick around! [theme song] Alright,
as you may already know, at JDCOT we explore career paths both in and out of law to help
you find a career that fits you and help you succeed using your law degree. Today’s guest
is Nick Gaffney, a former lawyer and journalist, who today is a partner and the director of
the San Francisco office of Infinite Public Relations, a professional services and litigation
and crisis communications PR firm. You’ll like this – Infinite was voted for 2013 the
best PR firm by the National Law Journal and The Recorder. Cool stuff! Let’s meet Nick.
Nick, welcome to the show! Nick: Oh, thank you very much, Marc. I’m
happy to be here. Luber: Yeah, I’m glad you’re here, Nick.
So I’m excited to learn all about litigation and crisis communications. I know our audience
is too, so I’m going to be asking you all about a typical day, who fits this path best,
how to break in and how to succeed. But let’s start with this, Nick – first tell us, what
does it mean when I tell the audience that you do litigation and crisis communications? Nick: Well Marc, thanks for asking. It’s
a really great field and it’s a sub-specialty of public relations, and essentially, litigation
public relations and crisis communications are the management of communications during
some type of an event; often unforeseen event where the reputation of an organization is
called into question. This can be triggered by a government investigation, by a lawsuit,
by some type of public statement which brings into question an organization’s financial,
ethical reputation. So, for example, if an organization is a consumer products organization
and something happens with one of their products and someone is made sick, then that might
trigger some lawsuits. So they’re pretty closely linked. And so what happens is, when
an event like this takes place, there are professionals who specialize in this – and
what they specialize in is managing the communications. And probably first and foremost, people need
to consider that we’re past the time where organizations can choose to be silent on issues
– because once organizations are silent on issues, there’s been such a democratization
of the media that the opposing party, the other party in either litigation or on the
other side of the crisis, has a lot of tools to be able to get their messages out. So if
you imagine an event that takes place where a corporation or some type of major institution
is alleged to have behaved in a way that was either negligent or worse than that, some
kind of criminal activity, their silence allows the other side to fill the media, to fill
any type of reporting with their messages. And so, basically, this is a development that
has taken place in our society where “no comment” is no longer sufficient. So in
lieu of “no comment,” organizations have hired both internal professionals and external
organizations like our firm to come and help them prepare for either a crisis or some type
of litigation. So that’s what crisis communications and litigation communications is all about,
and the great thing about it for your audience is, that these scenarios fit perfectly into
the skill set of a lawyer just out of law school or someone who has practiced for a
while because, like I said, oftentimes there are legal consequences to these events and
in understanding a legal process is something that’s extremely valuable in this context. Luber: Excellent. That’s great to hear.
So everyone’s going to be excited to hear more. Alright, good stuff! If you’re on
YouTube, please give us the thumbs up if this was helpful. And if you want to see the full
interview with Nick, come on over to JDCOT.com. I’ll throw a link right there for you. And
you’re gonna hear from Nick all about what it’s like to work in this public relations
niche – and you’ll also hear how you can break in and how you can succeed. If you’re
already at the site, you can just scroll down to the full video. Make sure you join our
membership. That way you get access to all the helpful video content – and the transcripts.
Thanks again for watching, everybody. I’m Marc Luber and I’ll see you soon. [theme
song]