Media Training for Lawyers by Law Firm Public Relations Experts
Media training for lawyers involves preparation, practice, planning, and performance. Each element is an essential component of effective media relations. Media training teaches lawyers how to conduct an interview, how to appear favorably on television, how to communicate a message persuasively, and how to overcome physical and verbal roadblocks to effective communications.
Attorneys should be well prepared and media trained before the opportunity to work with the press arises. To the extent possible, law firms and their attorneys can and should control messages provided to the media for reasons of message management, ethics, and, in the cases of trial publicity, to protect their clients’ best interests.
While media training should be part of a law firm’s public relations efforts, there are times when law firms require focused training for their attorneys. The goal of media training the lawyer is to develop his/her full potential as an advocate when participating in press interviews for print, digital, radio (audio), and broadcast (video) interviews.
Furia Rubel’s attorney media training programs help attorneys to:
- Recognize the difference between the court of law and the court of public opinion
- Analyze today’s popular culture
- Understand today’s media and how it operates
- Develop skills to deal successfully with the media
- Apply principles of message design to media interviews
- Develop confidence in dealing with all forms of media
- Recognize the advantages of working with the press as a strategy in law practice and advocacy
- Understand how to maintain a positive and ongoing relationship with journalists
- Prepare for the unexpected
Media Training for Lawyers: Approach and Deliverables
Furia Rubel designs each law firm media relations workshop to meet the specific needs of the individuals within the firm. We take into account the number of lawyers and their profiles, the time constraints of your in-house legal marketing and public relations staff, the nature of your practice, and the configuration of the available space.
Workshops are organized and conducted to maximize individual attorney participation. The emphasis is on learning through doing, in a neutral and relaxed atmosphere. The expert law firm communications facilitators offer some lecture and demonstration and provide an opportunity for participants to rehearse the techniques.
Half-Day Law Firm Media Training Workshop
The initial half-day media training workshop is a four-hour program. It will:
- Allow participating lawyers to share their experiences
- Differentiate the court of law versus the court of public opinion
- Demystify the media relations process, venues, and formats (print, broadcast, radio, digital)
- Cover media interaction strategies, techniques, and industry lingo (i.e., off-the-record; on-the-record; on background; exclusive; etc.)
- Provide practical tips on every touchpoint of law firm media relations
- Work with actual issues important to the law firm and to individual lawyers
- Address best practices for visual appeal for in-person or photographed interviews
Attorneys who participate in this media training program will be taught how to:
- Define communication objectives
- Identify the target audience (readers, viewers, listeners)
- Develop key messages (clear, compelling, positive, and practiced)
- Speak in sound bites or “information kernels” (clear, concise, quotable language)
- Manage body language and vocal tone (authenticity, approachability, likeability, impact, etc.)
- Handle the media (who they are, how they work, what they need, how to deliver)
- Prepare for interviews (relaxation, appearance, props, logistics, preparation)
- Bridge and deflect questions and comments
- Avoid common mistakes
- Approach media follow up (after the interview)
Ongoing Consultative Media Training Services for Law Firms
Ongoing media training support is available to each lawyer who participates in a media training workshop. Furia Rubel also provides one-on-one media training for attorneys who are members of the agency’s existing law firm clientele.
Media training consultation offerings include:
Furia Rubel Quick Prep SessionsTM: Quick Prep Sessions in advance of each interview are available for lawyer media training workshop participants. Preparation includes, but is not limited to a review of all relevant information about the interview topic, an overview of the media outlet, the background of the interviewer, a review of key talking points and the messaging used to deliver these talking points.
Furia Rubel Practice and Polish SessionsTM: Practice and Polish Sessions are available to attorney media training workshop participants to practice the fundamentals of interviewing to the point that they become second nature. Once practiced, it is important to polish the attorneys’ responses so they do not appear canned. In many cases, it is necessary to stick to a prepared statement, especially when potentially litigious matters are being discussed.
Furia Rubel High Stakes Training SessionsTM: High Stakes Training Sessions focus on preparing for high-profile media interviews through videotaped role-play sessions and issues preparation when we anticipate ambush, assault, talk show and cross-examination-like interviews. Such sessions are used in crisis management and controversial issue situations and are most effective when implemented proactively. Types of situations that require high stakes training include but are not limited to:
- Allegations of attorney or law firm wrong-doing (i.e., negligence)
- Bet-the-company litigation
- Breaking news issues
- Crisis situations (i.e., layoffs, sexual harassment accusations, death of key executive, protest, disaster, workplace violence, financial distress, cyber breach, scandal, etc.)
- Government relations
- High-profile trial publicity
- Hostile takeovers
- Regulatory and ethics communications
- Shareholder and board relations
The court of public opinion matters. If you are looking to up your game and have more success with your law firm’s public relations efforts, now is the time to contact Furia Rubel.