Why Law Firms Value Public Relations
There was a time when law firms were steadfast in the belief that they would get new clients through their reputation alone. No doubt, doing good work will generate referrals, no matter what the industry.
Bolstering that marketing strategy was the fact that law firms were prohibited from advertising until 1977, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, essentially striking down prohibitions against advertising by attorneys.
When law firms first began to advertise, practice areas such as personal injury and bankruptcy were early adopters. More traditional practice areas, however, found value in a strategic public relations effort.
Astute firms with a more corporate client base and practice areas realized that public relations was a much more subtle approach to developing new clients.
Today, law firms utilize public relations for many of their external communications, including media relations, community relations and thought-leadership, all to position the firm, practice areas and individual attorneys as leaders in their field.
They have taken their own advice to heart: “You wouldn’t want a PR professional doing your legal work – why would you want an attorney doing your PR work?”
With that philosophy in-hand, law firms typically are good clients for PR agencies. As noted in this post by our Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) partner in Philadelphia, Buchanan Public Relations, legal knowledge and expertise from an attorney who is well-spoken is of extreme value to the media.
Like Buchanan, our Boston affiliate, The Castle Group, has a long history of providing strategic public relations counseling to law firms and other professional service firms.
HMA’s years of experience in providing successful, award-winning, creative, strategic communications services to law firms in their respective geographic markets and beyond, has oftentimes meant working on behalf of the law firms’ clients as well, as it is not uncommon for the PR account team to provide counsel to their law firm’s client on a matter that may generate media attention.
It’s smart to balance the court of law with the court of public opinion and it takes an experienced PR firm to guide that process.