Sending out press releases

Many plaintiff employment lawyers send out a press release whenever they file a lawsuit. They do this in the hopes of not only garnering publicity about the case (which is likely to pressure the employer to settle), but more importantly, garnering helpful witnesses and information. There is also the side benefit of the possibility of obtaining additional plaintiffs.

Typically, a press release has four sections:

  • The initial paragraph of the release announces that the plaintiff has filed a lawsuit against the defendants, lists the causes of action contained in the complaint, and identifies the court and case number.
  • The next paragraph describes some of the facts underlying the plaintiff employee’s claims.
  • The third paragraph consists of a statement from the plaintiff’s attorneys about the case or the law and a request for witnesses and information.
  • The fourth paragraph provides contact information for the plaintiff’s attorneys.

Generally, the plaintiff’s attorney sends the press release to one or more organizations that will then distribute the release to news organizations throughout the globe (e.g., PR Web and US Newswire). In addition to submitting the press release to these “middlemen,” attorneys may also send the press release to local, state, and national news media, including newspapers (e.g., the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today), television stations, radio stations, and Internet news sites.

If the case is particularly newsworthy, the employee’s attorney might also schedule a press conference to announce the filing of the lawsuit. Typically, both the employee and the employee’s attorney should attend the press conference, but generally only the attorney should speak.