MGM may start a trend with its early effort to get a federal judge to declare it isn’t liable for the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

The unusual move to short circuit the legal claims of those targeted in 2017 in Las Vegas by Stephen Paddock, a Mandalay Bay hotel guest, isn’t good for publicity, and it probably won’t work, according to lawyers interviewed by Bloomberg Law.

But other companies may adopt the preemptive litigation maneuver to try...