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Reputation management

Reputation management

Our team is renowned as leaders in the field for defending reputations, privacy and confidentiality wherever and whenever problems arise. Clients tell us they value the speed of our response, the rigour with which we fight their corner and the creative answers we deliver in difficult situations.

The ways in which reputations and privacy can be challenged continues to evolve, far beyond the discipline’s origins in media law. As technology advances, an ever greater cast of people have the ability to use wider and more open sources of information with less regard for territories and far fewer limitations than ever before. Often that has a powerful effect for good; but too often it can be with a carelessness or even intent to damage the reputation, the privacy or the commercial confidences of others. Be it investigative journalists, NGO activity or malicious behaviour of short sellers, our team is experienced in understanding the tactics deployed against you, and the rights that you have to push back against these challenges.

What sets us apart from others is that we start by looking at your objectives and quickly assessing what strategy will work, taking into account our vast experiences of how issues pan out and how parties involved are likely to behave. Our advisory approach to our practice means we will adapt the best solution to achieve your outcomes, using creative approaches and averting harm as deftly as possible. Allied to our paramount focus on delivering excellent service and building long-term relationships with clients, this achieves far stronger results than through other firms.

Often our approach to handling reputation and privacy problem dovetails with our work helping clients understand and resolve the substantive underlying issue to effect a long-term resolution of a problem.

What is reputation management?

What falls under reputation management can differ from business to business, but at Himsworth Scott it means:

  • A client that has a serious, often urgent, threat that will impact its reputation, privacy or confidentiality. The threat can come from a wide range of sources, including:
    • Questions posed by a journalist;
    • Undercover reporting or documentaries being made;
    • Activities or investigations carried out by an NGO;
    • A disgruntled employee or purported whistleblower;
    • Statements or publications from activist shareholders or short sellers;
    • Negative results in financial due diligence, WorldCheck databases or compliance issues;
    • Handling allegations appearing in blogs, social media or elsewhere online;
    • Dealing with blackmail and extortion threats, and preventing their execution;
    • Another business’ activities take advantage of your brand and goodwill;
    • Harmful and unfair comparative advertising;
    • Leaks, hacking and data loss incidents; and
    • Threats of external investigation or sanction.
  • Devising a strategy with the client across jurisdictions, disciplines and areas of law to achieve the outcome that the client needs.
  • Executing the strategy, undertaking the necessary legal steps and overseeing the delivery of the objectives.
  • Learning the lessons of the incident that occurred, taking steps to avoid repetition and putting in place plans to monitor for similar risk.
  • Repair any remaining harm from the evidence to recover and enhance reputation or privacy.
  • In businesses or sectors exposed to repeated risk of these issues occurring, or when they arise regularly in the course of dealing with a long-term issue like managing an investigation, we will work with clients over many years on strategies to defend and enhance their protections against attack.

Our focus is on achieving the outcomes our clients want and need, which is why we are responsive 24/7, wherever in the world. We pride ourselves in working with best in class partners in the right disciplines and territories who we know from experience will be effective in delivering our strategy.

Examples of work our team have been involved in include:

  • Advising a listed European business on managing a long-term hostile campaign by aggressive short sellers;
  • Advising a leading PLC on an array of reputation threats arising out of disclosure in its IPO prospectus over several years;
  • Ongoing media advice to a prominent PLC in a contentious sector, frequently targeted by media, campaign groups and section of politicians;
  • Working with a leading PLC to secure an injunction against a blackmailer to prevent the execution of a business critical blackmail threat; and
  • Dealing with Panorama, Dispatches, Newsnight and other investigative journalism sources over countless dealings

Reputation management case studies

Case Study - Ensuring client confidentiality in light of a major data leak

The challenge: Individuals and entities caught up in leaks of banking or law firm data were being wrongly impugned by association with others

What we did: By investigating the background and identifying points of differentiation, we were able to assert the legal rights of our clients to identify why they should be omitted from the reporting and valid reasons for past conduct.

The result: The clients were either omitted completely from reporting or the allegations were removed

Locations: Panama, Cayman Islands

Case Study - Closing down an imposter business

The challenge: an investment business was being targeted by imposters asserting to be linked to the business and trying to attract funding. The attack misused personal information about senior executives, and was harming the reputation of the business among financial communities - alongside the fraud it attempted to commit.

What we did: our first step was gathering all available information on the business so we could effectively identify all of those behind the business and how they were operating. We then employed a dual movement of targeting the individuals responsible and web and other services they used By doing this we severely restricted their ability to operate, allowing us to then take out all of their online operations. Careful monitoring has ensured they have not repeated the approach.

The result: the campaign came to an end and the business was able to show partners the steps taken to deal quickly with what had been a significant threat to partners, as well as its reputation.

Location: Hong Kong

Case Study - Ensuring confidentiality for a target of blackmail

The challenge: A prominent business was being blackmailed, with the perpetrator making a threat that would cause massive harm to the business

What we did: In tandem with the client and security services, we secured an anonymised injunction order to prevent the perpetrator being able to use third parties to execute the threat, while authorities made an arrest. We then argued for the public interest in the protection of blackmail victims to cover the identity of the victim in the subsequent prosecution.

The result: The perpetrator was jailed without the threat ever becoming public, we succeeded in keeping the client’s identity out of all reporting

Locations: Yorkshire, London

Reputation management – key contacts