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Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications

Law Firms: Legal Marketers Are Up Against Increasing Competition; Tighter Deadlines


By Paul Ryplewski, Client Service Director, JD Supra


The Legal Marketing Association — Bay Area Chapter’s February program was part practical advice, part philosophical discussion and many parts how a marcom professional can better position lawyers and law firms.

Orrick’s David Schaeffer moderated a panel comprised of The Daily Journal’s David Houston, Joel Rosenblatt of Bloomberg News and Ross Todd of The American Lawyer.

In order to generate better coverage in the media for lawyers, it is essential to maintain great working relation-ships both internally with your attorneys (understanding strengths and weaknesses) and externally with the reporters and editors you pitch. In sum, to be effective you must know your attorneys and your audience and calibrate your pitch.

Know your attorneys. The panel agreed on the importance of personal relationships (for them, trusting that a source will come through in a timely manner with pertinent, useful commentary). For marcom professionals, this underscores how critical it is to understand just what your attorneys do and be aware of what they will actually talk about. It is critical, before pitching a publication, to determine which in your stable of experts is the ideal fit for speaking with a reporter – in terms of knowledge base, personality and interest in following through.

Know your audience. Every pub-lication serves a different niche and success depends on being selective, matching both story and pitch to the appropriate outlet. For example, Houston’s publication, The Daily Journal, serves law firms in California including mid-sized firms and is not solely focused on large firm reporting. ALM, Todd’s employer, is learning how to “behave more like a national news organization with reporters across the country attending a national news room call to discuss what’s on local (agendas).” Rosenblatt noted that Bloomberg is truly a global platform with reporters spanning the globe, handing stories off one to the other and literally chasing daylight nonstop.

Calibrate your pitch. Reporters and marcom professionals alike need to ”read widely”, according to Houston, in order to know what conversations are already taking place and put your pitch into context of these conversations. You must be able to answer the question, “Why does your story matter?” before picking up the phone.

There are no shortcuts to generating great media coverage. Knowing your resources, who you are trying to reach and being strategic about how you do so will yield far greater results than simply blind carbon copying all reporters at all publications, crossing your fingers and hoping for a call.



Paul Ryplewski is President of the Legal Marketing Association – Bay Area Chapter and Client Services Director at JD Supra.

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