When a lawyer takes on a high-profile case, it is a steep and sudden descent into obscurity. The media and the public will be watching every move you make, waiting for any slip-up so they can pounce on it. It’s not easy being in this position, and there are many pitfalls along the way. You must be prepared to deal with the press, the general public, and how jurors observe your case during the trial. This can be difficult for many lawyers who have been in practice for years and suddenly find themselves representing celebrities.
A common critique when handling high-profile cases is that focusing on representation and public relations is crucial. Attorneys often overlook these issues that profoundly affect a client’s reputation and the outcome of a case. To avoid problems, an attorney must have experience dealing with these issues.
This article will guide what it means to represent a high-profile celebrity, how to handle the media, and how to protect your client’s interests best.
What does it mean to represent a celebrity or high-profile case?
High-profile cases can involve a wide range of people from actors, models, pop stars, athletes, politicians, and other well-known personalities. It may be an alleged divorce, child custody dispute, sexual assault, domestic violence, defamation lawsuit, etc. Anything involving a celebrity can be considered a high-profile case.
Typically, a high-profile case involves one or more of these factors:
- Covered by multiple television stations sending reporters and photographers.
- National media outlets are interested.
- The case is consistently featured on the newspaper’s front page and TV.
- The trial/hearing is scheduled for several days and involves a sequestered jury.
The obvious thing to understand about representing celebrities is that they’re already well known by name, face, reputation, accomplishments, and celebrity endorsements. They have fans, supporters, and critics. The attention is intense and often overwhelming. The media glare is bright and unforgiving. The general public knows everything about them, including their personal lives and details of their relationships. Any perceived misstep is noticed immediately and magnified greatly. There is no hiding from scrutiny in these situations.
Representing a Celebrity
An attorney’s treatment of a celebrity significantly influences how jurors view the celebrity. When you represent a celebrity at a trial, you should emphasize the celebrity’s status and urge prospective jurors to view the celebrity as a person first, then as a celebrity second.
In addition, lawyers should practice treating celebrities with ordinary courtesy, so they do not display fawning or disdain through speech or body language, however subtly expressed. This holds not just during voir dire but throughout the entire trial process.
It is the attorney who sets the tone. As long as the attorney focuses on business rather than the celebrity’s status, jurors will view the trial and the celebrity appropriately and without extreme bias. When attorneys cater to celebrities, they risk having jurors mimic or resent their behavior.
It is important to remember that celebrities are not like regular clients. Their image is priceless and cannot be taken lightly. If anything negatively impacts their positive images, the damage could be long-lasting. Considering that, working on high-profile cases is an increased risk.
When representing a celebrity as an attorney, you must put aside your views and feelings. To do otherwise is unethical. This includes things such as gossip columns and tabloids. You should not give in to any stories or rumors that appear in the press. There is information out there, but you must stay away from it and protect your client.
Celebrity’s Career and Reputation
Due to the extreme pressures that celebrities experience, many fail. When celebrities go down, it can change their careers forever. A divorce between two high-profile individuals can create significant financial problems for the individuals involved and the family members. Some celebrities can even lose custody of their children, destroying families.
High-profile divorces can cause a loss of business opportunities for the individual. The celebrity endorsers, advertisers, and sponsors that work with your client can also be affected. These individuals may also lose friendships and connections due to the negative publicity.
Contemplate Each Move
When you meet with a celebrity, acknowledge the situation’s impact on the person’s life. It can affect their health, safety, finances, relationships, ability to be hired, and so much more.
As a lawyer, you must consider not just the disposition of a case but also how the public perceives it. In addition, the general public views the celebrity differently after something bad happens. They may think less of them, view them negatively, and see them as less than human.
Prepare for a Potential Disaster
You should always ask yourself, “What if…” before embarking upon a relationship with a celebrity. The answers to these questions will help you prepare for any eventualities. Being prepared will benefit both parties.
Handling Social Media, General media, and the General Public
The general public has access to various resources and avenues through which they can obtain information. Social media channels, television, radio, print media, and other forms of mass communication are examples of how people can learn about your client.
The need to be discreet and private
In order to properly represent a celebrity, you must remain discrete and private. You could jeopardize your reputation if you do not keep your clients’ personal information private. There are many things that you cannot say publicly. For example, you cannot discuss your client’s sex life, drug use, criminal history, mental health issues, family problems, etc. These are all things that you should only discuss privately with your client.
Acknowledge that they can be seen as a ‘role model.’
It is important to remember that celebrities are often considered role models. Many young people look up to them and want to emulate their lifestyles. When you represent a celebrity, you are representing their image and lifestyle. If you make mistakes, you can damage your client’s reputation.
Celebrities have fans
You should never forget that there is a large fan base behind each celebrity. Many people look up to your client, and seeing them do well can give them confidence. Even though your client has gone above and beyond the call of duty, they still have admirers who would love to see them succeed. With this in mind, you should always treat your client with respect.
Celebrity cases divide the general public
Some cases are polarizing. At the same time, others attract sympathy from the audience. Some people support your client’s cause, while others hate your client because they think they deserve what they got. It is important to remain objective when representing a high-profile case.
Remember, however, that not everybody loves your client. Be careful to weigh all angles, so you don’t alienate half of your client’s potential supporters. As an attorney representing celebrities, you must understand such nuances and be sensitive to the general public’s views.
Understand that the media may pick sides
When dealing with a celebrity case, the media will almost always take one side or another. In most cases, the media will choose to report on the negative aspects of your client’s situation. However, you can win the general public’s hearts if you learn how to handle the media and communicate your message. Remember, no matter how much you try to convince the media to report positively on your client, they will usually ignore you.
Means of entertainment to the general public
Everyone wants a glimpse of their favorite star and the public savor watching the drama unfold. They enjoy watching the legal system work its magic. The public may even root for your client. In other words, the public wants to watch the case play out like a movie. This is why it is so important to stay focused on the facts of the case and avoid getting caught up in the emotion of the situation. At the same time, you must help your client maintain his celebrity status while asking him to act like a regular person.
Being able to represent a celebrity is a difficult job. You need to be discreet and professional. Never forget that your client is human too. Treat them with respect and compassion. And most importantly, be prepared for anything! However, you also need to be aware of some of the pitfalls associated with doing so. Following these tips can successfully navigate the waters of representing a celebrity.
Representing Cases Where Children are Involved
When a celebrity couple splits, things can get messy. If children are involved, it can get even more dramatic and get into a custody battle. Child custody cases are a thorny aspect of tabloid-covered celebrity divorces. Parents often fight tooth and nail to protect their kids from keeping them away from the other parent.
When you’re representing a celebrity couple, you’ll want to ensure that you do everything possible to ensure that the children’s best interests come first.
Impact Upon Families & Pain Caused
It’s important to acknowledge that celebrities have families, friends, and perhaps even children who could be affected by the case’s outcome. This is especially true when it comes to custody issues.
Custody disputes can cause emotional distress. There are times when the legal system isn’t fair. This can lead to bitterness and resentment. It’s quite normal for celebrities to experience anger, frustration, and depression after going through a contentious custody dispute.
You should never underestimate the power of the media. The tabloids are always hungry for stories. As such, they will print anything they think will sell paper.
That’s why it’s so important to take control of the situation. Make sure that you don’t let the media influence your client in any way. Instead, focus on making the right decisions for him.
Real-Life Example of Celebrity Case
The case of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard is a recent example of how a high-profile celebrity case can erupt into a major controversy. The trial attracted considerable public interest, both from Depp and Heard supporters. There were numerous allegations hurled back and forth between the two parties. Furthermore, the trial generated more social media interaction per article than any other prominent news topic in the United States. Many news outlets covered the story extensively as well.
Clips of the trial were shared widely online and quickly became a viral sensation. Even people who hadn’t watched the trial still had their opinions formed about Heard and Depp based on the small clip of evidence they’d seen. A celebrity case is like wildfire. Once there is a spark, everyone wants to see it burn up.
As a lawyer, it’s essential to remain impartial. You can help keep the attention focused on the matter at hand. You’re representing celebrities, not the media or the general public. You need to handle things carefully, professionally, and above board.
Call Our High Profile Celebrity Lawyers Near You at 866-392-0547
At Levine and Blit, we specialize in dealing with high-profile clients with top-tier legal representation in New York. From understanding the law to getting coverage from respected publications, we excel at helping our celebrity clients win their battles. With over 100+ years of combined experience, we know what works best for our celebrity clients. Our team has handled everything from divorce trials to child custody disputes.
We have taken on some of the largest corporations in the country and represented many celebrities in various high-profile professions. If you’re looking for an attorney who truly understands the pressures faced by high-profile celebrities, contact us today!
We take your privacy very seriously. We respect your right to protect your identity regarding your private life. For this reason, we provide the highest level of discretion while handling your case. We work hard to avoid embarrassing your family members, friends, and associates. We keep your personal information confidential.
Representing famous clients in all 50 states. Our firm has a stellar track record of securing justice for some of the most well-known names in Hollywood, sports, business, politics, music, fashion, and the entertainment industry. When you need an attorney who understands the inner workings of New York’s legal establishment, look no further than Levine & Blit.
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The legal system can take specific steps to protect the right to a fair trial. However, these measures are time-, money-and effort-consuming. You can use many options to ensure your trial is fair. These include getting away from local infamy, restraint from the media, gag orders on participants discussing the case, and ensuring jurors are isolated from the news. To implement these solutions, you will need someone to speak up.
Not only do our attorneys have a vast knowledge of the law, but they also understand the nuances of high-profile cases and protecting legal counsel. They will use their expertise to navigate difficult situations so their clients can focus on winning their cases.
If you’re looking for experienced legal counsel who knows how to deal with the media, celebrities, and the general public, call us at 866-392-0547.