A law firm that wants to position and maintain its brand in the marketplace has two options.  It can pay a considerable amount to get its name before the public via advertising and sponsorships.  Alternatively (and often additionally) it can “earn” an enhanced reputation via skillful use of public relations.

Public relations is defined as a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.

One of the best ways for law firms to build these relationships is through the media, which often serve as gatekeepers between organizations like law firms and their publics like clients, potential clients and referral sources, as well as internal audiences like the firm’s lawyers, management and staff.

Earned media is more credible and powerful than paid advertising, because it brings with it the objective endorsement of the third-party media outlet that has vetted it and decided that it is newsworthy.

However, public relations does not come with the same amount of control as advertising.  Once the media begin to work on a story, a law firm has little control over how the story actually turns out.  Plus, there is no guarantee that the story will appear.  If implemented carefully, however, a good public relations media policy brings much reward.

This article is based on a presentation on public relations media strategies by Sarah Hogan and Cori Streetman to the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association.  Hogan and Streetman are principals at Barefoot Public Relations in Denver.  The event took place Feb. 12 at Sullivan’s Steakhouse in LoDo, Denver.

This is part one of a five-part article.  For the full article:

PR Skills Boost Law Firms