CONSILIUM is a strategic media consultancy firm that specialises in managing exceptional circumstances. What is unique about CONSILIUM is that all our consultants have a law degree. We are always consulted when it comes to managing highly complex topics in public, summarising such issues in an understandable format and sending out a clear message. Thanks to our comprehensive reputation management service, we are able to protect the good reputation of our clients and communicate their message to the public.
in a Name
Consilium roughly translates as “public forum”. When Cicero wanted to convict Senator Catilina of conspiracy over 2,000 years ago, he knew that legal arguments on their own were not enough. One also needs public support. He managed to win over the public in the end thanks to his speeches against Catilina. We see ourselves as providing a forum for our clients in legal disputes that are in the interest of the public.
Our consultancy offers the ultimate combination of communication and law. Because those who think about one without the other quickly become exposed to significant reputation risks. Ultimately, when a legal dispute comes to an end, it is not only a matter of convincing in court, but also in the public courtroom. CONSILIUM stands for modern legal communication supported by traditional values: credibility, discipline and decisiveness. These are the qualities that help us to manage your communication in exceptional circumstances.
CONSILIUM´S legal communication summit
The largest annual Litigation PR event in Germany
At our legal communication summit hundreds of lawyers, company spokespersons and journalists meet to discuss Litigation PR. The event is hosted by CONSILIUM in partnership with prmagazin.
In recent years, guests and speakers have included the former Minister of Economic Affairs, Brigitte Zypries, media experts, such as Christian Schertz and Gernot Lehr, influential spokespersons from Airbus, Deutsche Bahn and Siemens, as well as numerous journalists from publications such as SPIEGEL, FAZ, Bloomberg News, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Juve and LTO.
The next summit will take place in Munich on 12 November 2019 at Munich RE. Find out more at: rechtskommunikationsgipfel.de
CONSILIUM STUDY WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF MAINZ
Judges are human too: The influence of the media on court proceedings
We have joined forces with the University of Mainz to conduct a research study into how the media influences criminal proceedings. A survey of a total of 580 judges and public prosecutors was carried out. Eleven German federal states participated in the survey: Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Brandenburg, Hessen, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia. The subject of the survey included the use of media reports about the respective respondent’s proceedings, the errors in reporting that were perceived and the emotional reactions to media criticism.
The study was carried out under the academic leadership of Prof Dr Mathias Kepplinger (Professor for Empirical Communication Research) and the Managing Director of CONSILIUM, Martin Wohlrabe.
Many judges and prosecutors pay close attention to how their cases are reported in the media. One out of every two judges (53 per cent) and prosecutors (62 per cent) admitted they thought about the response from the public during their questioning and even during their summation when overseeing trials that attract mass media coverage.
55 per cent of respondents consult feedback or comments because they want to "get a picture of public opinion", "evaluate influences on those involved in the trial" (29 per cent) or want to determine "how widespread extreme opinions are" (25 per cent). The response to media criticism is often emotional. When asked how they spontaneously responded, most said they were "frustrated" (judges 50 per cent, prosecutors 65 per cent) and felt they were "unable to defend themselves properly." (Judges 45 per cent, prosecutors 46 per cent).
60 per cent of the prosecutors believe that the media is attracted to trials where the perpetrator "is a migrant or is of ethnic origin", or where the perpetrator "is expected to receive a particularly long sentence." 97 per cent of all respondents also found that criminal cases involving a celebrity, either as a victim or perpetrator, attracted wide media coverage.
Judges (10 per cent) and prosecutors (16 per cent) said they believe that the media influences "the course of the entire hearing". Furthermore, 30 per cent of judges and 42 per cent of prosecutors stated that media reports have an influence on "the atmosphere in the courtroom."
The vast majority of respondents considered the influence of online comments or media reports on laypersons such as victims (63%), the general public (87%) or even defendants (48%) as "strong" to "very strong".
And one in five prosecutors (20 per cent) believe the media has an influence on the testimony of witnesses in court.
Respondents also stated that "witnesses were intimidated by media reports." (27 per cent of judges, 41 per cent of prosecutors) and that "the media had an influence on the verdict because it changes the behaviour of victims, perpetrators or witnesses." (22 per cent judge, 36 per cent prosecutors).
The influence of the media is prompting the respondents to take action: one in four judges and almost every second prosecutor now asks the press offices to launch an active communication policy or even to launch strategies to counter the campaigns of defendants. More and more judges (24 per cent) are establishing an information channel with journalists, and one in three public prosecutors (33 per cent) is conducting press conferences on a regular basis.
This development clearly shows how much attention is being given to public opinion of courtroom procedures today.
Equally fascinating is that just 2 per cent of all judges and prosecutors in our study found that the media had a direct impact on the question of guilt. This is despite the fact that 33 per cent of judges and 48 per cent of prosecutors believe that "journalists want to influence the verdict".
Each month we answer the “Litigation PR question of the month” from a PR-Magazin reader.
New developments constantly arise in Litigation PR, in particular with regard to changes in the media and regular legal amendments. Our Managing Director, Martin Wohlrabe, keeps us up-to-date by answering a question from a reader about Litigation PR every month in prmagazin. First published in 1969, prmagazin is the oldest PR sector magazine in Germany.
...And who we are looking for:
We are always on the lookout for new colleagues to join our team.
If you are interested in working for us please contact us via: firstname.lastname@example.org.