A Comprehensive Guide to Law Firm Public Relations

Written by Lauren Erdelyi6 minutes well spent
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In today’s competitive legal landscape, even the most skilled lawyers find themselves struggling to stand out from the crowd. Despite their expertise and dedication, potential clients aren’t reaching out, and their reputation remains unchanged. The culprit? Often, it comes down to ineffective law firm public relations strategies.

A firm’s success ultimately hinges on its reputation in the public eye. More than ever before, legal professionals must play a proactive part in shaping this image. While that’s traditionally meant crafting press releases for announcements and attending industry events, the scope of law firm public relations has widened significantly in recent years.

We’ve developed this comprehensive guide to help you understand the many aspects of law firm public relations. Read on to discover how to build a strong public relations strategy and gain invaluable tips for elevating your firm’s reputation.

What is law firm public relations?

Law firm public relations is about strategically shaping how others perceive your firm. It includes various channels, such as press releases, events, blogs, byline articles, and podcast appearances. Effective law firm public relations can bring visibility to a firm, enhance its reputation, attract prospective clients, and strengthen relationships with existing ones.

The benefits of law firm public relations

Bill Gates captured the power of public relations best when he said: “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.” You may be running one of the most client-centered law firms, but if the public doesn’t know about it, growth won’t be easy. Law firm public relations is an integral tool for amplifying your achievements and showcasing your expertise to a wider audience.

Here are a handful of reasons why you should make law firm public relations a priority:

  • Gain greater visibility: Law firm public relations can help your firm stand out in a crowded market, ensuring potential clients know about your services and strengths.
  • Build credibility: Positive media coverage instills trust among both existing clients and prospects.
  • Safeguard your reputation: When a reputational crisis strikes, public relations is crucial for managing and shaping public perception of your firm.
  • Attract new clients: By shining a light on your firm’s expertise and successes, law firm public relations campaigns can attract new clients and drive revenue.
  • Boost search rankings: Building a robust online presence by sharing content across platforms can positively impact your firm’s search engine rankings.

Effective channels for law firm public relations

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These days, law firm public relations takes a variety of forms. As you begin to share your firm’s story, you’ll quickly realize that you have an array of channels at your disposal. So, where do you start? We’ve highlighted a few common ones for a well-rounded strategy.

  • Press releases and media pitches. Press releases and media pitches are key to the success of your public relations efforts. By identifying newsworthy stories—like a new law firm announcement or partner hire—and crafting a compelling press release to pitch to the media, firms can capture their audience’s attention.
  • Social media. Building a strong online presence across platforms like LinkedIn, X (formerly known as Twitter), and Instagram creates stronger connections with clients and humanizes a law firm. Focus on creating highly engaging content (such as explainer videos or thought-provoking articles), use hashtags strategically, and leverage graphical elements like infographics. Discover more tips in our complete guide to social media for lawyers.
  • Speaking engagements and thought leadership opportunities. Law firms can position themselves as industry leaders by participating in conferences, panels, and webinars. By showcasing their expertise and networking with peers and clients, they’ll elevate their profile and unlock new business opportunities.

Measuring success in law firm public relations

Throughout your law firm’s public relations journey, you’ll need to identify what’s working—and what isn’t. This is where measurement comes in. A number of metrics will provide insights that empower you to refine your strategies, better allocate resources, and demonstrate ROI. Keep track of these key performance indicators as a starting point for your law firm public relations campaigns:

  • Media impressions: The total number of views or listens to media content, such as ads or articles, across various platforms.
  • Share of voice: How prominently your law firm is featured in the media compared to competitors.
  • Engagement metrics: Interactions such as likes, mentions, shares, comments, and retweets reveal how engaged users are with your content on social media platforms.
  • Conversion rates: The percentage of users who take a desired action after interacting with a piece of content or a marketing campaign.
  • Website traffic: The volume of visitors and visits a website receives over a specific period.

Navigating crisis management in the legal industry

A female-presenting lawyer reviewing legal malpractice claim documents at a desk in an office

No matter how diligent you are, crises can be inevitable in a law firm. While that may seem intimidating, a little bit of preparation can go a long way in safeguarding your reputation and maintaining client trust. That’s why it’s important to set aside time now to:

Anticipate potential crises. That could be a data breach, malpractice allegation, or regulatory compliance issue, for example. Carve out time to create strategies to tackle each scenario. By proactively assessing your risks and having plans in place, you’ll be able to move quickly to mitigate negative repercussions if the time comes.

Develop a crisis communications plan. You’ll also want to develop a solid crisis communications plan. This should outline clear protocols and responsibilities for responding to crises. It should also have pre-approved messaging templates to ensure a consistent and coordinated response.

Appoint a response team. Effective media management requires timely and transparent communication. That’s why law firms should have dedicated spokespersons who are trained in speaking with the media and taking interviews.

Choosing the right agency to handle lawyer public relations

By now, you may be wondering where you’ll find the time to handle your law firm’s public relations. After all, Clio’s 2023 Legal Trends Report found that lawyers complete less than three hours of billable work each day. Partnering with a public relations agency can prove to be beneficial for some firms.

The right agency can significantly impact your visibility, credibility, and overall success. Be sure to consider the following factors before selecting a law firm public relations agency:

  • Industry experience: Look for agencies with a proven track record of working with law firms. Experience in the legal field ensures that they have a solid understanding of its nuances and challenges.
  • Reputation: Research the agency’s reputation within the industry and among its clients. Testimonials, case studies, and awards are all useful for gauging an agency’s credibility and effectiveness.
  • Measurement: Find out how the firm measures the results of its campaigns and which KPIs it uses to track success.
  • Media relationships: Ask about the agency’s relationships with journalists, editors, and any influencers relevant to your legal practice area.
  • Budget and resources: Consider your budget constraints and ensure the agency can deliver value within your financial parameters. Moreover, you’ll want to assess the agency’s resources, like staff expertise and technology.

As you meet with prospective agencies, be sure to have a list of questions ready that can help you assess whether they align with your goals—and can deliver the value you need. Here are a few to get you started.

  • Can you provide examples of public relations campaigns you’ve executed for law firms?
  • What media relationships do you have within the legal industry?
  • How do you measure the success of your efforts, and what metrics do you track?
  • Can you provide a breakdown of your pricing structure and any additional costs to be aware of?
  • How often will you be in touch with my firm and who will my primary contact be?

Final thoughts on law firm public relations

Developing a successful law firm public relations strategy requires patience, dedication, and continuous refinement along the way. However, it’s an undertaking that’s well worth the effort. As countless legal professionals have seen, law firm public relations can be one of the most powerful tools there is for enhancing their reputation, attracting new clients, and gaining an edge over competitors.

Discover how innovative legal technologies, like Clio Grow, can take your law firm public relations to new heights.

Categorized in: Business, Marketing

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