Public Relations for Lawyers: Leave a Lasting Impression
Lawyers have countless encounters with target audiences on a daily basis and the power to control messaging in person, online, and over the phone. It’s how you create these messages that will help you leave a positive and lasting impression, and to own your reputation as a great lawyer.
Leave a Lasting Impression with a 30-Second Introduction
Also known as an elevator speech, at attorney’s 30-second introduction is a clear, brief statement about who you are and how you can benefit your target audience. This short statement about who you are and why you matter should coincide with how you want people to perceive you: your lawyers reputation. People move fast these days and you need to articulate who you are and what you do quickly and effectively before you lose the attention of your audience.
Communicate quickly and effectively. Have a compelling and creative statement. Use this when you meet people for the first time and they ask about your business, as your outgoing voicemail message, in your prospective client meetings, at the dinner table, and just about anywhere you discuss your business.
Most lawyers find it challenging to produce a solid 30-second introduction. Every professional should have something effective to say that is prepared, rehearsed, and ready when you are networking, contacting the media, or talking to a prospective client or employer.
Start with a brief and memorable introduction. State who you are, what you do, who you represent and how your work benefits others. Make it easy to understand and compelling enough to leave the listener wanting to know more. If done well, your introduction should invite more detailed and qualifying questions.
“I’m Mary Smith, a criminal defense attorney. I represent and defend the rights of the well-known and the well-heeled in the glare of national media attention.”
“I’m Mary Smith. I serve as counsel for very famous and often unsympathetic defendants, such as Michael Cohen and Bill Cosby, who were involved in major scandals. I work to get a fair trial despite public pressure and media bias.”
Both of these introductions leave the listener wanting to know more about the attorney which should lead to a more detailed and memorable conversation.
The Do’s and Don’ts of 30-Second Introductions
* Remember that every word matters.
* Be specific.
* Engage the listener, grab their attention, and get them interested in the conversation.
* Think in terms of benefits to your listeners (what’s in it for them).
* Concentrate on what the listener wants and needs to hear.
* Tailor your words to the listener’s needs.
* Keep in mind your tone of voice.
* Be enthusiastic.
* Invest time on a regular basis to revise your personal statement as you gain experience.
* Keep your introduction current.
* Keep it short —7 to 30 seconds.
* Follow up.
On the other hand, DON’T:
* Talk all about you.
* Summarize your job description and call that your introduction.
* Use general language or jargon.
* Sound like a salesperson.
* Speak in a monotone voice.
* Memorize your introduction word for word.
* Cross your arms and look down at the floor while speaking.
* Compare your company to your perceived competition.
* Appear rehearsed.
When you are networking and meet someone for the first time, you have only a few seconds to make a memorable impression—make the most of it.
Lawyers Reputation Using Social Media
Social media has changed the way lawyers communicate and connect with one other and with their target audiences. While not every social media platform will align with your legal business development strategy, they are worth exploring for growing your relationship network of new contacts and with current and potential law firm clients.
Social media is a vehicle for thought leadership, validation (focus on your targeted audience), retention (post actively and frequently), and lead generation (share links to relevant content).
When was the last time you looked at your social media profiles?
For example, you should review and update LinkedIn as often as possible. LinkedIn is a social media tool for professionals looking for opportunities to connect with other professionals. Make sure your profile is complete. For example, include a full experience description in the first person and a complete work history. Relationships and trust are important to landing new clients and social media is an excellent tool for establishing and maintaining relationships globally.
Eighty percent of social media business-to-business leads come from LinkedIn. The key is establishing a credible presence and creating relevant and valuable content to effectively reach your target audience and then engage with that audience through social media.
What Does Your Voicemail Message Say About You as a Lawyer?
When was the last time you listened to your outgoing office or cell phone voicemail messages?
While email, texting and social media seem to be the prevalent forms of communication these days, a voicemail is still often the first time someone interacts with you. Before recording your voicemail message, write down what you want to say.
Make sure your voicemail is recorded in a quiet environment and is professional, friendly, energetic, informative and compelling.
And don’t make the mistake that so many lawyers make which is to have someone else record the voicemail message. That just screams, “I’m too busy for you.”
An example of a professional voicemail message is: “Hello. You have reached the voicemail of Mary Smith. I am unable to come to the phone. Please leave me a message. I will get back to you as soon as possible. If this is an urgent call about an existing or new [INSERT TYPE OF LAW] legal matter, please call my cell at 215.222.2222 or send an email to email@example.com.
The Professional Email Signature
An e-mail signature is the block of text attached to an e-mail message that typically contains contact information, such as your name, title, company name, phone, mobile, e-mail and website address. (I left out fax because they’re quite antiquated in most businesses today).
Using an email signature helps convey your brand and is akin to sending out your business card every time you email someone. It’s also a sign that you’re a professional and conveys legitimacy of your position and brand. If everyone in your establishment uses the same email signature style, you’re presenting a sense of unity for your law firm.
You can use your email signature in a variety of ways such as restating your company mission, linking to a news article about you, your company or something that you have recently published, sharing accolades and more. If you are going to be presenting at an open-forum conference, let the recipient know. It’s the easiest and least-expensive way to reinforce what’s going on with your law firm and your clients without being intrusive.
Civil Rights Attorney – Dedicated to Protecting Your Rights and Liberties
Smith & Smith PC
1234 Main Street | Ourtown, PA 12345 215.222.2222 | firstname.lastname@example.org | @MarySmithTweets
Civil rights lawyers protect individuals and groups from discrimination and other civil rights violations. My job is to uphold freedoms of speech, religion, and assembly, the rights to petition the government, to procedural due process, and to be free from discrimination.
DISCLAIMER (Link to a disclaimer page on your website whenever possible)
What it comes down to is accepting that there are a myriad of everyday public relations opportunities for lawyers to communicate directly with clients, prospective clients, referral sources and others. Each interaction should be meaningful and clearly demonstrate how you want to be perceived: your lawyers reputation.
Copyright © 2018 by Gina Furia Rubel. All rights reserved.
First published in 2007 | Furia Rubel Communications, Inc.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2007941911
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