Originally published by Law360, New York (June 9, 2016, 11:40 AM ET) — The ever-expanding scope of what constitutes the “press” creates new issues for companies and their counsel dealing with disputes that either are in or will develop into litigation. Routine corporate disputes that received no media interest are now the subject of nontraditional media outlets such as blogs, internet news sites, social media posts, and homegrown, community websites. And the traditional media, whether newspapers, radio or local television stations, mine these sites for content and contact companies seeking comments, interviews and information about otherwise insipid disputes.
As a result, companies are increasingly turning to their in-house and outside corporate counsel to craft a media strategy as part of the litigation strategy. They ask lawyers to draft press releases, prepare employees for media interviews, and work with internal or external public relations professionals. Communications associated with these tasks often contain information the company wishes to protect from disclosure, and the question arises whether the attorney-client privilege or work-product doctrine serve that protective role.