Catalyst 12: Keep fighting, even if you have setbacks

Losing the case does not mean losing the cause. Win or lose, litigation combined with a good public advocacy campaign can spur public debate. This can lead to the policy or legislative change the cause wants to achieve. Prepare for the worst and try to achieve the best. Before litigating, consider the spectrum of outcomes, […]

Catalyst 10: Frame the case outside the courtroom

Communication holds and exercises power. Expect that your external communication strategy will affect court procedure and outcomes. The case is fought inside and outside the courtroom. Be prepared: develop a communication strategy that resonates with the audiences important to your case and cause; identify key moments for communication outreach; and have designated spokespersons ready to […]

Catalyst 9: Remember, the court is an audience too

Litigation is a channel through which technology, policy, and research can be communicated to decision makers. Craft your legal arguments to create opportunities for expert testimony or affidavits. Keep your message strong, but simple. Create clear graphical representations of key points – a picture, diagram or compelling analogy can capture the imagination of the jury […]

Catalyst 8: Tailor your external message wisely

Avoid jargon: captivate, do not alienate your audience. Formulate a message that is easily accessible and understandable for a wide audience, yet remains legally and technically accurate. Words are only part of the message. Literally show your audience the big picture: create strong graphical representations of key technical points or complex legal or social issues. […]

Catalyst 7: Coordinate your external communication

Identify people and organizations that are (or could become) engaged with your campaign and break them down into identifiable groups. For each group you want to reach, identify which collaborators are best positioned to reach them. Include all collaborators in your messaging strategy: consult technologists to develop simple explanations of crucial technical details; consult lawyers […]

Catalyst 6: Embrace the tech

Don’t shy away from technology. It takes time to understand technical details, but engaging with them is necessary and yields benefits. Identify the technological data and analyses that are most helpful to the case. Consider how they relate to the broader cause. Articulate the technological issues at stake in legal and advocacy terms, and vice […]

Catalyst 5: Respect and acknowledge your collaborators

Respect and defer to your collaborators’ expertise. Be prepared to hand over control on certain issues; trust the ability of others. Play off each other’s strengths and embrace the opportunity to learn. Respect others’ limitations in capacity and resources; be forthcoming about your own. Be realistic about what each party is able and willing to […]

Catalyst 4: Involve your stakeholders

Remember who you are advocating for: both the case and the cause are ultimately about people. Proactively identify and include affected stakeholders: they are central to your campaign. Ensure they have a voice and a continuing role in it. Ensure that interests remain aligned. Discuss strategy at the outset and continuously verify that stakeholders’ needs […]