Unexpected PR Advice for Lawyers from a General Counsel

It’s a gift when an outside lawyer can hear directly from the client what they value most. Noel Elfant, Vice President and General Counsel of DeLaval, outlined the “small stuff” he expects from his outside counsel in this provocative article in law.com last week. I was doing my happy dance when I read this bullet point which hits home with what I advise my clients daily: Keep close tabs on industry news relevant to the client’s business, and share important developments on a regular basis, perhaps with a short, tailored explanation that contextualizes the information for its use. What Elfant is talking about is essentially routine services that benefit the client that doesn’t require a lot of time or specialized understanding – or other types of activities, such as getting to know the client’s business, that lawyers should do on their own time. Elfant emphasized not waiting for the client to ask….

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There are many times when your law firm is competing to tell the same big story for a shared client. And when that happens, being first to execute on a smart publicity campaignwill get you the desired outcome with the media. It is a simple fact: Journalists to turn to the first law firm that contacts them, and makes their attorneys available, when they need a comment for their story. This just occurred connection in major appellate case. Four major law firms, and two smaller ones, all participated in defeating a billion-dollar antitrust case on behalf of leading magazine publishers and distributors. A unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2ndCircuit upheld summary judgment for all the defendants. As Jenna Greene of ALM just explained in an interesting article,   it was New York’s Cravath, Swaine & Moore, a firm not known for being especially quick to toot…

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It’s Time to Refresh Your Bio

Time changes. Another birthday passes. A new year. These are perfect reminders to revisit your bio to make sure it’s updated. As professional communicator, I am often asked about the best steps to communicate effectively with prospective clients. I always suggest starting with the bio. Whether it’s for a firm’s website or LinkedIn, the bio the first place people go when they get your name from a referral. Every study of law firm websites has concluded that, beyond the home page, the lawyers’ biographical pages are the most visited pages on the site. That’s because, with a few exceptions, people don’t hire law firms. They hire lawyers, who, after all, are human beings, and they want to know whether you are the right person to fix their business problem. That means the bio is your first and probably your only chance to make a good impression. So you should review it a…

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How Article Headlines Attract and Mislead Readers

I have written in the past about the importance of headlines for articles or blog posts because they influence whether someone will go beyond the headline to read the full piece.   In 2014, in a perceptive article in The New Yorker, psychologist and writer Maria Konnikova said, A headline changes the way people read an article and the way they remember it. The headline frames the rest of the experience. A headline can tell you what kind of article you’re about to read . . . and it sets the tone for what follows. Psychologists have long known that first impressions really do matter — what we see, hear, feel, or experience in our first encounter with something colors how we process the rest of it. Articles are no exception.  Journalists know headlines are intended to serve several purposes. They help the reader decide quickly whether she is interested enough in the story to read it. They deliver…

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