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Best Practice Tips: Law Firm Marketing—Using an Outside Public Relations Firm

Asked and Answered 

By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Q. I am a partner in a three-partner, five-attorney estate planning firm in Seattle. While we have a very active marketing program, we would like to do more. We try to do two presentations at seminars or workshops every month. We have a first-class website and a proactive SEO program, as well as an aggressive social media campaign. The firm is listed in all of the key directories. Our attorneys are active in the legal and local communities, have served in leadership positions for bar association committees, and have written extensively. While many of our clients come to the firm through referrals and past clients, we are noticing that we are receiving much more business from the internet. Recently, we have been discussing whether we should consider using a public relations firm. We would be grateful for any thoughts you may have.

A. A public relations firm can be very helpful, especially if your firm does not have a point person for marketing. You have to decide how you will use such a person and what role you would like them to play. I suggest that you avoid the larger firms and stick with a smaller firm, or better yet, a solo practitioner or freelancer. You might use public relations professionals in the following ways:

  • Write and send press releases announcing such happenings as new lawyers hired and noteworthy firm and lawyer achievements.
  • Query media sources for bylined article publishing opportunities.
  • Ghostwrite articles for attorneys in the firm.
  • Write blog and social media postings.
  • Write material for the firm’s website.
  • Obtain client testimonials and write case studies for the firm’s website.
  • Maintain the firm’s website.

Several years ago, I retained a public relations firm for two years on a retainer. A few of their accomplishments included:

  • Selected client interviews and case studies written for the website.
  • Newspapers interviews, photos, and stories written by newspaper reporters.
  • Bylined articles in ABA Law Practice Magazine.
  • Bylined articles in Legal Management Magazine, Association of Legal Administrators Publication.
  • Interviews by reporters for content for their stories in legal publications.

Our firm found such services very helpful and we’ve learned much from them. We are now able to handle many of these tasks ourselves.

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John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC, (www.olmsteadassoc.com) is a past chair and member of the ISBA Standing Committee on Law Office Management and Economics and author of The Lawyers Guide to Succession Planning published by the ABA. For more information on law office management please direct questions to the ISBA listserver, which John and other committee members review, or view archived copies of The Bottom Line Newsletters. Contact John at jolmstead@olmsteadassoc.com.

Posted on December 13, 2018 by Rhys Saunders
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