2018 Winners – Communications: Media Relations / PR

Honorable Mention

Jackson Walker LLP

Hurricane Harvey Update and Resources

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Summary: With an office based in Houston, many Jackson Walker attorneys experienced the devastation of Hurricane Harvey first-hand. The goal of this campaign was to be responsive to the community and deliver important information to those directly and indirectly affected by the storm, providing insurance claims tips, deadlines, tax updates and other tools. In the wake of tragedy and devastation, a lot can be easily forgotten, and Jackson Walker's attorneys know some of the smallest things can be detrimental to recovery.

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Beginning the Friday before the storm hit, Jackson Walker formed a Task Force of 28 attorneys and staff. The team located every employee in Houston and surrounding areas, helped relocate or provided housing to families in need, developed 13 articles & newsletters between August 31–September 11, providing information on topics such as employment-related challenges, cyber risks and IRS updates. Because of the time sensitivity, the team took to social media and email, delivering information to more than 20,000 people including 8,500 via email within days after the storm. In the community, attorneys participated in relief efforts at the George R. Brown Convention Center and NRG Stadium, organizing medical services. Internally, Jackson Walker also created a relief fund supported by the employees to help provide recovery assistance to those in need and developed an internal portal of information tailored toward employees. The team organized a volunteer group to help clean and prep employee homes for repairs.

The goal was to reach and help as many people affected by the devastation as possible. Jackson Walker was able to share information with more than 28,578 people directly through digital media. The Hurricane Harvey newsletter delivered on August 31, 2017, was forwarded to 508 additional recipients. The Hurricane Harvey campaign efforts attributed to 9.64 percent of the firm’s website traffic. Jackson Walker created a Hurricane Harvey landing page to serve as a hub for related content; the page received 806 referrals from Google searches for terms such as Hurricane Harvey Support and Hurricane Harvey Resources. Among the direct views, the content created and gathered by the task force was shared throughout the Houston community. A local church transcribed each of the Jackson Walker Hurricane Harvey newsletters into Chinese for distribution to its community.

Honorable Mention

Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC

Lightfoot Media Strategy for Gubernatorial Impeachment Proceedings Garners National Media Attention

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Summary: When Lightfoot partner Jack Sharman was named Special Counsel by the Alabama House of Representatives Judiciary Committee to guide its impeachment investigation of then-Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, the firm recognized a unique opportunity. The media attention Sharman and Lightfoot would receive, if managed properly and sensitively, could drive national awareness and new business for the firm’s white collar and corporate internal investigations practice. That became the goal of the project.

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Sharman’s investigation resulted in a 123-page report, with 3,000 more pages of exhibits. Leveraging this would be key to owning the story and securing media attention. The solution: an informational website, www.bentleyinvestigation.com, built in-house. It provided the media (and the public) all they needed to know in a mobile-friendly site that was easy to navigate. Within 30 hours, the site had more than 16,000 downloads and has now been viewed nearly 50,000 times — placing Lightfoot at the center of coverage and public discussion The firm also engaged in a proactive media outreach campaign around Sharman’s work that has continued well after the resignation of Governor Bentley. Leveraging his experience and name recognition from the Bentley matter, and his role as a special counsel during Whitewater, the Lightfoot team has positioned Sharman as a go-to source for media covering another political scandal: Robert Mueller’s investigation of President Donald Trump.

The results of this project are as follows:

  • National media coverage, including NBC “Today Show” interview, multiple appearances on MSNBC and articles in The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News, The New York Times and The Washington Post
  • A regional television interview
  • Coverage overall in 14 print, online and broadcast media outlets, reaching more than 200 million subscribers and viewers, plus the reach of two wire services (Reuters and Bloomberg)
  • Thousands of impressions across social media (Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook)
  • More than 16,000 downloads on BentleyInvestigation.com in the first 30 hours and more than 50,000 total views so far

But the true ROI? New business. The firm can attribute a new high-profile public corruption case to the campaign. Given that this effort reached its peak in late spring 2017, that is impressive by any measure. In addition, the campaign led to invitations for Sharman to present on conducting internal investigations to leading multi-national companies.