When it joined a qui tam False Claims Act lawsuit against a company that operates for-profit colleges, the Department of Justice leveled allegations that the company had violated incentive compensation rules and illegally obtained as much as $11 billion in federal student financial aid funds. Coming on the heels of high-profile Congressional hearings and media coverage, the litigation made the company the “poster child” for the ongoing debate over the for-profit higher education sector.
In close coordination with outside legal counsel, our team developed messaging and a media strategy for the litigation. Central to the effort was keeping reporters focused on the narrow legal issues involved in the case rather than the broad assertions made by plaintiffs’ counsel – or the tangential issues raised during Congressional hearings.
We coordinated a series of background briefings with reporters covering the industry and the case, developed company statements and fact sheets, and prepared the primary spokesperson for the legal team – a former state attorney general – for all briefings and interviews, including a high-profile interview with “Rock Center with Brian Williams.”
As a result of our efforts, the dialogue around the litigation was controlled and our client’s reputation was preserved.