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Ammon Bundy Defense Media Policy
The following is Arnold Law’s media policy that was established for Ammon Bundy’s case. We have opted to make our media policy public for the benefit of those interested in the case and to help other attorneys involved in high-profile cases who may be caught in the middle of media coverage for the first time. We, of course, reserve the right to amend or modify this from time to time.
Why do we speak publicly?
Because Mr. Bundy has Free Speech rights and sometimes needs our assistance to exercise those rights.
Because our speaking out and assisting Mr. Bundy to speak out may encourage witnesses to come forward who have information that may be helpful to the defense but who might otherwise be unwilling to do so in a predominantly negative media environment.
To counter the asymmetrical release of a great deal of negative and untruthful information about our client from a variety of sources.
Because this case raises important public policy and political issues that are already a part of widespread public discussion and that deserve more discussion.
Because our client wishes us to demand transparency and shed light on any actual or perceived abuses of power, whether by the government, the media or private individuals.
What will we say?
Even though we have broad Free Speech rights (First Amendment and Article 1, Sect. 8, Oregon Constitution), in addition to those of Mr. Bundy, we will generally limit ourselves to addressing issues that are already in the media or about which the media is asking questions, even though we are not required to limit ourselves.
In other words, we will only rarely initiate communications about matters that have not already been or are not about to become subjects of public or media discussion. We are not trying to create publicity about issues for which no publicity would otherwise exist.
We realize that we are lawyers representing a client and not media experts. We will always try to keep our client’s interest and our responsibilities as lawyers in mind and have and will always advise a client of the right to remain silent.
Mike Arnold and Lissa Casey are the only individuals at the firm who are authorized to communicate with the press. All requests for comments should initially be made to Mr. Arnold, typically through the firm’s designated media coordinator Shawn Vincent of Vincent Mediaworks.
Depending upon the circumstances, Mr. Arnold and Ms. Casey may at times be able to arrange for live statements by, or written or recorded statements from, Mr. Bundy.
Social Media and Crowdsourcing
In addition to traditional written press releases and interviews, we believe that the purposes sought to be served by our communications can also be met through the use of social media.
In addition to providing a medium for presenting appropriate information about the case, social media also provides a platform for communications with the firm. The Ammon Bundy defense is, in part, a crowd-sourced legal matter. Given the large number of potential witnesses and the broad public interest in the case, social media provides the most practical way for a firm and client with limited resources (going against the federal government, an entity that literally prints the money) to identify, aggregate, and authenticate information that may prove invaluable to the defense.
A Team Approach to Litigation
At Arnold Law we look at every case as a team effort. The team consists of your lawyers, Arnold Law support staff, experts, investigators, and YOU.
Let’s break this down, starting with YOU: You as the client are a vital part of the legal team. You have been living the events that have led up to this litigation. You are often the best person to consult for historical information and background. Clients have also been known to come up with some very creative and strategic legal ideas. Because of this, we encourage clients to brainstorm ideas and we listen to them carefully. Of course, without legal training, many ideas of clients are legally impossible or invalid, but that’s okay. Because there is often a gem in there that even the lawyers didn’t think of.
Next, are the lawyers. Picking a lawyer or team of lawyers is often the most important decision a person makes in their life if the stakes of the case are high enough. Let’s take a divorce for example. Many people say that picking a spouse is the most difficult/important choice. That’s true on many levels, but you can divorce them; the choice isn’t permanent. If you choose a divorce lawyer poorly, you might be saddled permanently with their financial errors (i.e., support, missing assets, improperly divided retirement accounts, etc.). If you pick a criminal defense lawyer poorly, you may face the permanent consequences from a prison cell or at the unemployment office.
Our Size Allows Flexibility for Each Case
Our firm’s structure allows us to give each case the appropriate resources that it deserves in line with the client’s goals. If a client has a cost saving goal, then they may elect to have an associate attorney handle their case, knowing that a partner oversees their work and gives guidance. This allows clients to have the best of both worlds: the oversight of an experienced partner with the cost-saving advantage of an associate attorney to do the day-to-day work.
For the more complex cases in the firm, two attorneys may be assigned to the case, particularly in commercial litigation and complex criminal defense. Two attorneys on a case has several advantages. Primarily, it allows an experienced attorney on the case with an associate attorney to bill less money per hour on tasks not requiring the partner. This allows money to go much farther and also saves costs through efficiencies (lawyers are assigned tasks based on their strengths). This way we can avoid billing partner rates for research projects or discovery projects, for instance.
The old adage that “two heads are better than one” also holds true. Part of becoming experienced is acquiring wisdom. And wisdom is often knowing what you don’t know. Oftentimes, it’s the young associate attorney (or even the client) who comes up with the fresh perspective in a case that proves to be the game winning idea.
Another reason that two heads are better than one is because we are a trial firm. Clients hire us because we are trial lawyers. This means sometimes we are in trial and unavailable on other cases. Having another lawyer up-to-speed assists greatly in these instances.