LMANE Boston Vice-Chair Scott Ziegler and
program presenter Judy Rakowsky of Liberty Square Group
Legal marketing professionals play a vital role in helping attorneys and law firms understand the value of effective public relations and creating and implementing a PR plan to boost branding, according to strategic communications consultant Judy Rakowsky.
Helping lawyers establish themselves as thought leaders puts legal marketers on the front line of a law firm's branding, as a positive, sustained media presence can lead to business development opportunities, Rakowsky emphasized to the full room at the LMANE Boston September lunch program, entitled "Using PR and Crisis Communications to Grow Business and Strengthen Client Relations."
Lawyers and firms that hesitate to engage with reporters "cede influence to those that do," she warned. "You can help them engage with the media in the right way."
This includes having a PR strategy in place to seek out meaningful media placements and to work effectively with busy reporters, she said. Opportunities abound to establish working relations with reporters, who tend to have narrow lists of expert sources.
"Lawyers can help reporters understand the legal issues involved and to get it right," noted Rakowsky, Senior Vice President Crisis & Strategic Communications at Liberty Square Group in Boston.
Clients (or law firms themselves) that find themselves in the glare of negative media coverage need crisis communications pros to help shape the narrative in the best way possible.
Planning is essential, because "the last thing people remember to do during a crisis is communicate," she observed. Having a crisis communications protocol in place will lead to clearer, quicker decision making in the heat of the moment.
A protocol should include a core crisis team, and should also anticipate various scenarios potentially impacting clients. Planning builds awareness for clients on knowing the intended audiences, as well as what, when and how to communicate intended messaging, Rakowsky said.
Speedy responses are vital, as is coaching a client spokesperson on effectively communicating with the media and stakeholders, noted Rakowsky, who shared examples of botched crisis responses of various companies facing negative media coverage.
Choate, Hall & Stewart hosted the well-attended lunch program.
We hope to see you at out Oct. 10 lunch program on diversity!