Friday, May 2, 2014

Recognizing PR Opportunities

It happened! It finally happened!

It’s the “big” case… the one you always dreamed about when you imagined yourself as part of L.A. Law or if you’re a bit older, when you pictured yourself out-litigating Perry Mason.

The “big” case can be great for the ego and it can potentially be even better for the pocketbook. But as important, the “big” case represents a unique opportunity to shout to the world all that’s great about yourself and/or your firm.  Unfortunately, the “big” case doesn’t come around all that often, so when it does, it is critical that the growth-conscious law practice be prepared for how best to leverage this moment in the spotlight.

The first step in this process is to recognize if and when you are or are about to be working on the “big” case. Sometimes, this is done for you. When hordes of media folk are knocking down your door, you can be sure you’ve landed the big one. For anything less than the “sexiest” of stories, it will probably be you reaching out to the media, not the other way around.

There are times however, when the opportunity in front of you may not be as obvious. This requires a careful assessment of every case that comes across your desk. Try to think like a producer or editor. Will this case excite their viewers or readers? Some things to consider:

  • Is the case breaking new legal ground? 
  • If it’s not setting new legal precedent, is it the kind of case that’s setting “cultural” precedent? For example, we recently got one of our attorney clients on the Today show for a case she was handling that involved cyber-bullying via social media. 
  • If it’s not setting “cultural” precedent, can it perhaps play off another case that’s already in the news?  If, for example, a new pharmaceutical made the news because it was recently found to be responsible for consumer deaths, then case involving other dangerous drugs may also make for a good augment to this story.

Other ideas?  Obviously, sex always sells. As do cases involving celebrities.  During the manslaughter trial of basketball star Jayson Williams, one of our attorney clients was interviewed on a regional radio station for his take on the proceedings. This would not be so unusual were it not for the fact that this attorney was a family law practitioner who did not practice criminal law.  Yet he was the “go to” guy because he had been in the news many times before and had established a reputation for himself as an articulate subject for interview and a credible “expert.”

That example then begs some further questions… Once you have obtained that big case, how do you leverage it? How do you use that experience to boost up your media credentials?  And how does this exposure help your practice’s bottom line?

And those are exactly the questions we’ll address in our next issue.

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