PR for Attorneys
Synopsis: An attorney who is featured in the media is the news. He or she is featured as an expert in the field. Different forms of advertising and marketing can serve their purpose, but only PR has the ability to offer credibility and validation. PR, the law, and the media have a symbiotic relationship. The media and the public need experts to discuss legal issues and attorneys need the media to reach their target market and position themselves as experts in their fields.
Not all that long ago a debate about legal marketing would have been unthinkable, but after the Supreme Court ruled that antitrust law prohibited the American Bar Association from regulating how lawyers run their businesses, things changed. The legal field was dragged – kicking and screaming – into the business world. Attorneys who traditionally had been ill-prepared to function in the business world suddenly found themselves in the unenviable position of taking a hands-on crash course in business survival.
For years, in the legal world, apart from being perceived as vulgar, marketing was considered unnecessary. It was assumed that clients would automatically and miraculously come forever. As a result, attorneys erroneously believed they were sheltered from the demands placed on other businesses. But that is not the case. Marketing is essential and, of all of the forms of marketing available including advertising, direct marketing and Internet marketing, an effective public relations campaign remains the most effective form of marketing available to attorneys. Media relations is the only form of marketing that can reach a target market and offer credibility and validation. Think about it, if you were to read an ad for an attorney in a newspaper, or read an article about that same attorney discussing a specific case and being interviewed as an expert in the field, which would grab your attention.
As with physicians, it’s important that attorneys pay close attention to how they are going to present themselves to the public. Different forms of advertising and marketing can serve their purpose, but only PR has the ability to offer credibility. An attorney who is featured in the media is the news. He or she is featured as an expert in the field.
Today, savvy attorneys and law firms view public relations as an integral component of their business strategy. They are learning that they must change their perceptions to remain competitive. Our PR firm has placed attorneys in a wide range of media outlets, including 60 Minutes, CNN, NBC, Fox News, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times and various other media outlets. Depending on the situation, we have focused on specific cases that an attorney was working on, having him or her address that case; or had an attorney discuss a topic that was currently in the news. In this way, the media gets its story, our client is presented as an expert on national and or local media and the public, is educated on a specific case or point of law.
Public education is a key factor; to be effective in the media attorneys need to view themselves as educators. PR, the law and the media have a symbiotic relationship. The media and the public need experts to discuss legal issues and attorneys need the media to reach their target market and position themselves as experts in their fields. After all, we live in the information age and no profession, field or practice can avoid its effects. Professionals who understand the process and actively take control of the information are the ones who will succeed.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2009