Many people ask me “what do you really do?” Well, that is a complex question that will more easily explained in my upcoming book. But suffice it to say that I have two main areas of expertise and by nature they overlap.
That is crisis management and alternative sentencing. I have written and spoken a lot over the years about alternative sentencing, the flaws in our criminal justice system and how to make re-entry a top priority.
This BLOG I am going to dedicate to crisis management. I am often called the “Real Olivia Pope.” In fact, there is a real Olivia Pope named Judy Smith. As expected she runs a crisis management firm and is very politically connected. What we do as far as business models is not even close. She is more corporate and I, mainly because of my inside experience and my alternative sentencing passion, am hands on and all in one on one. For many, especially those who need no legal help, she and her approach make perfect sense. I am more of a legal life coach. Believe me there are many others and room for more. Depends on the client, the issue and the relationship
On Secret Societies of Hollywood– a show I am a part of on E! the narrator said “lawyers get clients off the hook, but one woman. Wendy Feldman keeps them off the hook” This is often true but takes great work and lots of planning.
Crisis management means teaching clients to be risk prepared in their everyday lives- from shredding all mail, to always having people sign a NDA unless another agreement is reached that takes the place of that
. Some Crisis Management Rules I Have:
NEVER ALLOW GUEST’S CELL PHONES IN YOUR HOME – HAVE PEOPLE CHECK THEM WITH SECURITY
DO NOT GO TO A DR’S APPOINTMENT WITHOUT ALL STAFF SIGNING YOUR OWN NDA- BRING IT WITH YOU
DO NOT GO TO THE DR AND ALLOW THE DR TO HAVE A CELL OR CAMERA AROUND WHERE YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THE PHOTOS
DO NOT ALLOW REALTORS TO BRING CLIENTS TO YOUR HOME WITH CELL PHONES UNTIL AN OFFER HAS BEEN ACCEPTED AND THEN GET PHOTO APPROVAL
WIPE ALL EMAILS OFF YOUR SERVER AND TO A HARD DRIVE EVERY TWO WEEKS (SONY HACK)
UNDERSTAND THAT TEXT MESSAGES CAN BE COPIED AND ALTERED AND FORWARDED- DO NOT SEND THEM UNLESS YOU WANT CERTAIN INFORMATION OUT-
ALWAYS BEGIN A CALL WITH MEDIA THAT ASKS, “ARE YOU TAPING THIS CALL”
ALWAYS BEGIN A BUSINESS CALL WITH “ ARE YOU TAPING THIS CALL” IF SO WHY AND DO NOT AGREE TO COMPLETE THE CALL IF UNCOMFORTABLE OR TAPING
These are just a few things I teach my clients as their crisis manager. Other things include advice on moving violations, NEVER BLOW- take a blood test– blood tests labs are over full- and advice on how to do deal with their image, image once there has been a crisis and of course their COMEBACK. THAT ONE IS EASY IS YOU ARE AUTHENTIC AND DESERVE ANOTHER CHANCE.
As a crisis manager I also set up and over see media events and often help script what a client will say. I say help because it must be a collaboration. There has been much speculation about Teresa Giudice and the speech she gave in court. That I will NOT address here. But the raw footage of me helping several clients exists. To that I say props to those clients. We do not shame people for having a voice coach or a work out trainer. Coaching people through difficult times is important and to seek help smart.
Would I have suggested Bill Cosby do a sit down like child molester Stephen Collins? HELL NO- NEVER-
The reason is why should he? There is no way to win that. No way to answer, so separate the work from the man and Cosby is giving fans the choice- It is America- make that choice and he will live with the consequences and does. This does not mean I believe him or many people I work with, but don’t forget. Clients are adults and not my friends. They make choices; I help them along the way. BUT I do not judge them nor do I ever ask if they did it. That is the benefit of my job. I know in a heartbeat- no need to ever ask.
The tips above are really just sneak peaks into one side of what I do and how I work as a crisis manager. Of course I did not talk much about media and other issues. This is just a peak. Much more will be in my book and in future appearances and blogs. For now never forget that change is possible, but it takes hard work!
Wendy Feldman is a family legal coach, crisis manager and a well known expert on alternative sentencing. She is available for private consultation on how to navigate the many aspects of our legal system. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows from Today, CBS Early Show, Nightline, Fox News ABC News, She is a regular on the CBS entertainment show The Insider and Entertainment Tonight and featured in the hit series on E! Secret Societies of Hollywood. She is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Slate, BBC, NPR, People, US, New York Post, The Wrap and various radio shows around the world. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.