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This is especially true when lawyers are involved in high-profile litigation, in such cases communications strategies need to be included in the arsenal.
Litigation media relations, also known as public relations or PR is important for any law firm for several reasons beyond the scope of the immediate case:
Media is a tool in your bag, you've got to use it. If you don't know how, or don't have the time, contact a public relations professional to help. Find one by searching the Web under topics such as 'litigation support' or 'litigation media relations.' A public relations person will take the case, distill it from a legal document and put it into language understood by the common man. The salient points will be crystallized, thus creating an angle that will be appealing to the media.
Furthermore a publicist will work with the media to help them understand the lawsuit and assist media personnel in gathering of information, quotes, photos, and other material so that the final published story reflects the position of the client.
As a public relations and marketing consultant, I've been working with lawyers and their clients to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more for several years. I've handled public relations and marketing for numerous lawyers, doctors, authors, inventors, and entrepreneurs since 1980 and am an integral part of the marketing strategy for many firms.
Any lawsuit must compete for attention in the "hard news" slot and so it must be compelling and people need to care about it. On a tour of the Detroit News a few years ago I asked to be taken to the mailroom. There I saw 20 giant four foot tall mailbags that come into the mailroom every day. All I could think of was how many thousands of press releases were in that pile, and how the odds of any one of them seeing the light of day were not good. If your press release is in that pile, how do you get your story to get to the top of the heap?
The answer? Retain a public relations professional who has built up contacts in the media, who trust them for story ideas, and will know where to pitch a certain type of story. They'll have phone numbers, email addresses, personal fax and cell numbers because they deal with members of the media everyday and have established relationships.
A comprehensive litigation media relations program to enhance your litigation support and get maximum exposure for high-profile litigation should include:
Remember that you cannot count on the press to be aggressive in seeking out both sides because the media will tell the story with whatever information is available before deadline. The media-savvy lawyer, or his representative, will pursue the media and make sure their side of the story is told.
Among the examples of litigation support provided by Westwind Communications are:
We'll use one approach when pitching
national media, producers and assistant producers of national
television shows, and a different approach when promoting cases via the
radio or Internet. Each media outlet has a 'public' they must
communicate with and each have different needs that must be met. For
example TV is looking for a good visual, they really don't want a bunch
of attorneys in suits standing around because that's not good TV. Since
they're not often able to bring cameras into the courtroom they are
very careful as to the types of legal stories they cover.
Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications ( www.westwindcos.com ), a public relations and marketing firm which specializes in marketing authors. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC Nightly News, ESPN, The New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, NPR, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Family Circle, Woman's World, & Howard Stern to name a few. To discuss how Westwind Communications helps its clients get all the publicity they deserve and more visit www.westwindcos.com/book or call 734-667-2090 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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