Public Relations & Community Relations
Public Relations for Law Firms
Media relations for law firms, or getting quoted by the media in articles or getting interviewed on TV or radio, is only one small part of public relations.
Public relations is about 100 years old. Today, public relations has evolved to become more art than science and marketing-savvy lawyers are looking at ways they can leverage public relations in their law practice or law firm.
Whereas law firm marketing focuses on getting you more clients, law firm public relations is all about your reputation. Why is this critical? Think of reputation building as the pre-sales cycle, so that clients are aware that you are the leading lawyer in a particular practice area, even before they need your services.
Reputation is what others (clients, prospects, other lawyers, employees, suppliers, regulators) say about you. Reputation cannot be bought at any price because it is not for sale. Reputation must be earned the hard, old-fashioned way through leadership, advocacy, doing good works, and consistency.
Reputation is achieved through advocacy, publishing, making speeches and presentations as well media relations.
What is Legal Public Relations?
The reputation of any law firm is its most important asset. Public relations is a reputational discipline.
Public Relations has four functions:
And sometimes, to salvage the reputation of a law firm.
Public Relations is a senior management function; the most senior PR practitioner sits to the right hand of the Managing Partner/CEO, advising on business decisions as they relate to the law firm’s overall reputation.
Advocacy and Thought Leadership
Lawyers and law firms have a long history of writing in support of or against something. That’s advocacy—and it can apply to the law itself as well as a number of important issues that affect the legal profession, such as Access to Justice (A2J), Self-Represented Litigants (SRLs), adoption of electronic documents in the court system, women partners, millennials, and so on.
The Legal A Team works with law firm clients who want to be thought leaders, helping to craft and place White Papers and Op-Ed pieces in national and local newspapers, key magazines, and industry publications.
When the topic might affect a wide enough audience, we also help clients get interviews on public affairs programs on television and radio.
The key to being a thought leader is to have a reasoned point of view about an emerging issue that hasn’t been widely covered. And as Winston Churchill famously said, “If I would have had more time, I would have made it shorter.”
It’s not enough to have something vital to say if you don’t have access to the editors who can put your ideas in front of readers. That’s what we provide: Access to the gatekeepers who will give exposure to your idea.
Writing Articles, Op-Eds
We have written countless articles in newspapers and magazines across Canada, sometimes as freelance writers and sometimes as paid on-staff editors. We know editorial writing and can help you write early drafts of articles, blogs, Op-Ed pieces and the like, so you save time. Then, you do the final review and tweaks.
Equally important, we have been working with business-to-consumer law firms like family law, wills & estates, personal injury, human resources, and tax law, since 2005. We understand what is important to Canadians' personal pocketbooks.
When we work with law firm clients, every word they write for consideration by a publication or a website passes through our computers and is edited by us.
We also write under our own bylines, promoting the public relations profession for The Lawyer's Daily, Advocate Daily, and TLOMA Today, among others.
We have created dozens of PowerPoint presentations as speaker support for conferences, lunch-and-learns, seminars, webinars, and breakfast meetings. We create them to be visually memorable and with quite a bit of humour.
Plus, we know when a PowerPoint presentation really should be a speech: a PowerPoint is written for the eye; a speech is written for the ear.
A speech is totally different than a PowerPoint presentation. A speech argues for or against something and uses your body language, voice tone, and words to communicate a message.
Great speeches have a 'story arc,' like a film. They have cadence and interesting words. They have metaphors and similes. They tell real-world stories of real-world people. Most of all, speeches have to sound good. Your audience cannot ask you to go back to Slide 17.
A well-written speech, artfully delivered, makes a powerful and long-lasting impression on an audience.
Talk to us when you need to impress with panache. We also do speech coaching, to help you deliver your speech with aplomb.
Sponsorships & Community Relations
There are over 170,000 charitable and nonprofit organizations in Canada. Of these, 85,000 are registered charities and recognized by the Canada Revenue Agency. There is no shortage of educational, health, environmental, children's, animal rights, Third World development, science, sport, and other causes that need funding and volunteers. Law firms can do good while doing the right thing with a worthwhile sponsorship that also works for their community.
Imagine Canada’s Research Note (Lasby, 2012) shows that Canadians regularly engage with charities:
Canadians annually donate $10.6 billion dollars to charities and nonprofits (2010 survey figure).
12.5 million Canadians volunteer in 2010, almost half the population aged 15 years and over.
These volunteers contributed 2.1 billion volunteer hours, translating to 1.1 million full-time jobs
Here are some interesting facts and figures about charities and charitable giving in Canada.
To leverage a charity or a nonprofit to the advantage of your law firm, call or email The Legal A Team.
We can help you create an additional law firm marketing campaign or ongoing program to bring more prominence to your sponsorship.