Monday, 4 November 2013

A Quick Update from LexRex Towers...

A very busy few weeks here at LexRex Towers... We've just completed our first year in business - YIPPEE! And now we're preparing our accounts. We're all very excited to see our figures on paper, but not so excited about our impending tax bill...

So, what have we been up to?
Well, on September 19th we celebrated our first year in business with a FABULOUS party in Manchester, with some of our closest friends, wonderful clients and lovely contacts. By all accounts, a fabulous night was had by all.

In October, we were extremely pleased to welcome on board our fabulous event and party planning consultant, Kate Mackenzie. A fellow ex-practitioner, Kate really knows her lawyers but more importantly she puts on a great event! We are already looking forward to hosting an extremely exciting conference in April 2014 on behalf of one of our clients; which we have no doubt will draw the crowds from far and wide... More to follow on that front. *Watch this space*.

Also in October, we cheered on our client Aequitas Legal at the Law Society Excellence Awards 2013. We are very pleased to report that the firm took home the Excellence In Client Service Award, and despite missing out on the LexCel Award for Excellence in Practice Management, managing partner Sucheet Amin was, we're told, "over the moon" at winning a gong. 

We should point out that it was Aequitas' first time entering the awards, so to be shortlisted for not one, but two awards, and to scoop (arguably) one of the most prestigious - was a MASSIVE achievement. Well done Such and the team, and onwards and upwards in 2014!

This month we're looking forward to supporting Such and the team at the Manchester Young Talent Awards, which take place on Thursday 21st November. Once again we'll be cheering for Such, as he's shortlisted for the Legal Professional of the Year Award. Good luck Such!

The Manchester Legal Awards 2014 were announced last week, and we'll be encouraging our clients to enter. If you need some help deciding upon which categories to enter, or some support in drafting your submissions, why not give us a shout - our awards entries are award-winning after all! The awards ceremony is taking place on Thursday 6th March, and will no doubt be THE event to attend in spring. We can't wait.

We've also had a lot of great media coverage to celebrate recently. Of course, Aequitas Legal's win at the Excellence Awards made a good story, and to date, we've had strong local success with Northwich law firm, Susan Howarth and Co's new family law initiative.

Our favourite piece of coverage was probably Jo Norris' comment in the Guardian Small Business Network article on the importance of good cashflow management. Excellent work Jo!

Legal consultancy, Zebra LC has been keeping us busy as managing director Zoe Holland moves and shakes across the PI market, providing due diligence advice on a number of high profile deals.

Finally... We can't wait for the Christmas markets to return to Manchester on Friday 15th November, and we're looking forward to a bit of a knees up and bratwurst all round, with the team at Ratio Law to celebrate a full year of working together. Happy days!

So, a lot going on here at the moment, but we're always excited to meet new clients. So if you fancy a coffee and a chat, or a mulled wine and a mince pie, be sure to give us a shout.

To find out more about what we do, check out our website. http://www.lexrexcommunications.com/

To contact us, please drop us an email: info@lexrexcommunications.com or tweet us: @LexRexComms or @vicmoffatt




Monday, 16 September 2013

Is PR advertising?

This week I'm writing about something that continues to surprise me - the prevalence of the belief that PR is advertising. It's not, of course, although the two disciplines are intrinsically linked.

PR is all about communicating with key audiences. In my line of work, it's usually about promoting a legal service to those audiences. However, it is not typically paid-for promotion in the same sense as advertising.

One element of PR - perhaps the most well-known - is media relations. Media relations is, in essence, about creating opportunities in the media for clients. It can include placing and writing bylined articles, providing comments for articles, writing and issuing press releases and securing interviews for television, radio, print or online publications (for example). 

All of these opportunities are free. This means they are accepted on merit and newsworthiness alone. No money changes hands between journalist and client.

On the flip-side; advertising is paid-for content and may include television or radio adverts, sponsored columns and advertorials (paid for adverts that have the look and feel of editorial), leaflets, pop-ups or banners. Because advertising is paid-for, it is usually promotional in nature, often overtly so.

There is often a cross-over between PR and advertising, for example, PRs are often responsible for writing the content for advertorial and sponsored columns. 

The real difference though is that PR is earned, advertising is paid-for. Simples.

By Victoria Moffatt

LexRex offers a wide range of PR and marketing services to law firms, including strategic brand and PR mapping, media relations, social media consultancy and support and a range of PR and writing courses. If you would like more information about our services, please drop us a line via email: info@lexrexcommunications.com or tweet us: @LexRexComms or @vicmoffatt

lexrexcommunications.com


Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Lawyers! Time to Review your PR?

After a short break, the LexRex blog is back, and this week I'm explaining why I think September is a great time for lawyers to undertake a strategic review of their PR activities.

I can't be the only person who feels that it's September, not January, that signifies the start of a new year. Perhaps it's a kick-back from school but I still use an academic diary, and I always find those first few days of early September exciting and fresh.

Things slow down over the summer months for no other reason than the fact that people go on holiday, meaning that pushing through sales, starting new projects or even just speaking to the right person becomes a merry-go-round of frustration. For me, this period of relative quiet time is great for catching up, working through the to-do list, getting stuck into some CPD activity and squeezing in a holiday.

In contrast September always seems like a month of opportunity, a time for reviewing progress to date and planning for the future. So that's why this post is all about reviewing your firm's PR activity - and what better time than now to be thinking about that?

So why should you review your PR? Well if you have an agency, marketing/PR person/team or use the services of a freelancer, it's likely that you are making something of an investment in their service. So it's important to know that you're getting a return.

A 'return' should be possible to measure simply by referring to the initial objectives and targets agreed at the outset...

If you don't currently measure PR activity and results, now may be the time to make the change. PR targets don't need to be complicated but ideally they will be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable/action-oriented, relevant/realistic and time-bound).

In any event, the process of setting targets and goals tends to be a useful exercise in itself. In-house and indeed agency teams are often pressured to deliver against sometimes impossible expectations from some partners. For this reason it can be helpful to identify the teams with higher-than-achievable ambitions, to ensure that the available time is allocated appropriately.

For example some partners want endless coverage and will pester for service that goes over and above the agreed retainer (or that exceeds what the internal team can realistically deliver), whilst other teams are completely uninterested in PR yet have specialist expertise that could provide excellent content for press releases, media comments or blog posts.

This means that a pattern of 'he who shouts loudest' is often at risk of arising - which is fantastic for the team with a lot to say - but is potentially destructive for other, quieter teams who may need a little more encouragement to promote their expertise.

Once the firm's PR weaknesses have been identified (and every firm has them) it's much easier to take steps to remedy them.

For example, if the family team provide blog posts for the firm's generic blog on a weekly basis, but the IP team struggle to do anything at all; a casual visitor to the blog may not realise the firm even has IP expertise. Of course, if that person is looking for an IP lawyer - that's potentially an opportunity lost. Once the IP team's weakness on the blogging front has been identified however, steps can be taken to remedy it. They could include outsourcing the blog writing process, providing writing training to the team or perhaps creating a separate family law blog to host all of that valuable content.

When undertaking a PR review, it's also worth considering what's worked in the past, and what hasn't been so successful. If the firm's focus is on traditional media coverage in the local business pages; why not undertake a review of the coverage achieved in the previous 12 months. Think about which press releases were used widely, and which never saw the light of day again.

Review time is also an excellent opportunity for brainstorming new initiatives - which don't have to be high tech or newfangled. Events can be successful if they are insightful and well-targeted. Seemingly old-fashioned techniques like taking clients out to lunch, making thoughtful referrals and introductions still work - so use them strategically, and measure the cost:benefit ratio of doing so. Media relations, content marketing and blogging, Twitter and strategic LinkedIn usage may all have a place in your PR and marketing arsenal; but you must be strategic and consistent in how you use them.

If the team is struggling to think up new strategies, or the past year's activities haven't worked as well as expected; it may be time to think about bringing somebody new to the table. For tips on choosing a PR agency check out my series of articles on expertise, chemistry and conflicts of interest.

By Victoria Moffatt

LexRex offers a wide range of PR and marketing services to law firms, including strategic brand and PR mapping, media relations, social media consultancy and support and a range of PR and writing courses. If you would like more information about our services, please drop us a line via email: info@lexrexcommunications.com or tweet us: @LexRexComms or @vicmoffatt

lexrexcommunications.com

Monday, 22 July 2013

Re-using Law Firm Content Part 2: Blogs

Last week I wrote about re-using press releases to ensure you get your money's worth from each one. In this post I'm explaining how to do the same for blog posts.

So, once you've written a post that's not only valuable but interesting, and audience appropriate - what next? Well first of all, you need to promote it. So do the obvious and share it on Twitter, post a link to it on your LinkedIn profile and add it to your firm's and your individual Google+ page (assuming you use this for professional purposes).

After you're shared the content across a variety of platforms, think about how you can re-use it. The obvious starting point is your firm's newsletter.

Depending upon the size of your blog audience, you could think about re-writing the piece. If you decide to do this - consider whether you can make it more relevant to a particular set of clients. If you send out a variety of different newsletters, even more reason to focus the content for that particular group.

If you have just the one newsletter, and the content is relevant to a large proportion of its readership, turn it into a 'top tips' piece or similar.

Also consider whether the content might be of interest as a guest blog. Popular bloggers are often open to content from different writers to help lighten the load of writing fresh, insightful content, but also because they want to add value to their readership by posting new perspectives and handy information.

Think about the blogs that you read, and whether there might be room for some of your writing. If there is a cross-over between their content and likely audience, and your target audience, then get in touch.

Before you make your approach though, just mentally sense-check your proposal. Ensure that your pitch shows that you understand the blog you want to write for. Many bloggers write out of a passion for their subject and poorly thought-out, irrelevant pitches are not only ineffective, but may cause offence.

By Victoria Moffatt.

LexRex provides specialist PR and communications consultancy to law firms across the UK. Headed by ex-lawyer Victoria Moffatt, we understand both the law and the art of communications.

LexRex now offers a range of different writing training courses, including the popular 'Exciting Writing for Lawyers' and 'Clear Writing for Junior Lawyers' workshops. If you would like further information about these new products or our other services, please drop us a line via email: info@lexrexcommunications.com or tweet us: @LexRexComms or@vicmoffatt

Monday, 15 July 2013

Re-using Law Firm Content Part 1: Press Releases

This week's post is a guide for lawyers on making the most of and re-using press release content. In later posts I'll cover articles and blogs.

But first, a moment of reminiscence... Back in the day when I was a practising solicitor, I had a ring-binder full of precedent documents. This included sample particulars of claims, defences, grievance letters and letters of advice. To save time I would turn to this folder at least once a week, and either use the content as guidance or as a refresher, or even; in straight-forward repeat matters such as residential landlord and tenant claims, reuse the copy verbatim.

Now I'm sure I'm not the only person with a sneaky ring binder. Although these days it would probably be a file on my desktop. But why is my precedent folder relevant to this blog?

Well, it's the concept of re-using and recycling that's relevant here.

When I speak to lawyers about their PR and online marketing strategies (if indeed they have such a thing), one of the complaints I hear over and over again is that they simply don't have the time to create as much content as they would like.

Now, I 'get' this, but there are ways to make it easier upon yourself - you just need to learn to recycle. If you have some great news - big deal, new partner announcements, year-end results etc. you will most probably issue a press release. That in itself is probably at least half a day's work for somebody.

Now - what else do you do with that copy once you've issued the release? Nothing? More fool you.

If your news is covered anywhere, you've probably got the basics right and you should stick a copy of the release in your firm's version of my ring binder. You can then use this as inspiration next time you have something to say.

In addition, after you've given your target media the chance to use or discard your press release, reword it slightly and publish it on your website.

Then - share it on LinkedIn and think about putting it on your Google+ page.

Consider tweeting a few links (over time) to the announcement on your website or any online coverage and whilst you're at it, retweet any tweets covering your news issued by any of your target media*, or any indeed other friendly tweets that mention your firm in this context.

Finally, you can re-use the copy all over again when you create your next client newsletter.

Honestly... that's quite a list of things you can do with a 500 word press release...

*You do follow your target publications and the relevant journalists on Twitter - don't you?

By Victoria Moffatt

Monday, 1 July 2013

Lawyers: 5 Tips for Effective Writing

Writing... It's a topic I've covered before, and if you're interested, check out my posts on writing a law blog and writing clearly. Today though, I want to cover writing techniques at a more granular level.

My experience is that writing is an act of constant editing. The hardest bit is typically getting something on paper, but once that first draft is written, it is then simply a matter of chopping and changing the content until you're happy.

Tip 1: just do it

I think a lot of people do 'just do it' and then press publish or send. Please don't do this. Check your writing carefully and at the very least, run a spelling and grammar check. But don't rely solely upon this, as it will only highlight incorrectly spelt words, not those used incorrectly - for example 'any' rather than 'and'.

I edit all copy ruthlessly and endlessly. I'm also obsessed with brevity and clarity. I read a great post on LinkedIn this week about cutting irrelevant words from writing and announcements. The article is spot on and you can check it out here.

Tip 2: edit edit edit

Sometimes, I really struggle to get something down - often when I'm tired, or if I've already written a lot of content that day. When floundering I try to move onto something less demanding for an hour or so.

Tip 3: write when you are fresh and full of beans

My pet hate is the use of the same word or phrase over and over again. If you've used 'professional' once, try not to rely upon it again. The same goes for specialist, expert, unique, valuable etc. It's lazy writing and there's usually no excuse for it. Thesaurus.com is a handy resource, as is the Microsoft synonyms tool. You can also use the 'find' function if you fear you've over-used a particular word. Sometimes repetition cannot be helped - but even just being conscious of avoiding it will probably make you a better writer.

Tip 4: don't overuse favourite words or phrases

I like to keep my sentences really short. That's because I think they are easy to read. In addition, short sentences enable me to keep to the point, and hopefully encourage my reader to continue.

Punctuation is a little bit like breathing. (Takes a breath) Insert commas and full stops at natural pause-points and you won't go far wrong. (Takes a breath).

If you write really long sentences without making use of punctuation marks your reader will find it difficult to understand where one idea ends and the next begins, they will also hate you for being unclear and for not giving them permission to stop and breathe.

If I'm honest, even writing that sentence was a struggle, and reading it back makes my eyes start crossing. Hopefully you understand my point.

Tip 5: keep sentences short and make use of punctuation marks

The above 5 ideas are just the points that I use to guide my writing, so let me know if you think I've missed anything fundamental.

By Victoria Moffatt

LexRex provides specialist PR and communications consultancy to law firms across the UK. Headed by ex-lawyer Victoria Moffatt, we understand both the law and the art of communications.

LexRex now offers a range of different writing training courses, including the popular 'Exciting Writing for Lawyers' and 'Clear Writing for Junior Lawyers' workshops. If you would like further information about these new products or our other services, please drop us a line via email: info@lexrexcommunications.com or tweet us: @LexRexComms or @vicmoffatt

Monday, 17 June 2013

Choosing a Legal PR Agency Part 3: Conflicts of Interest

In this, the third of three posts on how to choose a legal PR agency, I'm writing about what lawyers can do to avoid conflicts of interest when instructing a PR agency. In the earlier posts in this series, I've written about ensuring your agency has the requisite expertise and also how to ensure you have the right chemistry with your PR team.

A relationship with a PR agency necessitates trust and openness. By the very nature of the work that an agency will typically do for you, they will (or should) know exactly what's happening at the highest level of the business. If you are considering merging with another firm, or even if the SRA has recently been in touch - your PR agency should know about it.  If they already understand where your business is going, and why, they can be prepared if the you-know-what hits the you-know-what.

Of course, issues can arise if you use a PR agency that already works with another law firm. By the way, the logic of this post also applies to digital marketing and SEO agencies. 

So, what exactly are the issues that may arise? The obvious example would be an agency doing exactly the same work for two law firms with exactly the same offering in exactly the same location. For example, a PR agency providing media relations support to two PI firms in Liverpool. Both firms have the same target audience in the same geographical location. There is clearly a conflict of interest. 

An alternative, but less obvious, example of a conflict of interest would be a PR agency providing SEO copywriting services to two law firms - one in Cambridge, one in Newcastle - both of whom have decided to create a niche focusing upon a very small national audience.

In fairness, most good (and sensible) agencies have policies in place to avoid conflicts. However, I have seen cross-overs occur.

So what should law firms look out for, and what reasonable steps can they take to avoid a conflict arising.

1. Ask the question. It's not at all unreasonable to ask whether the agency you are considering appointing already works with any other law firms. If they do - find out what the nature of their brief is. Are you happy that it's dissimilar enough to the work that you want them to do?
2. Be willing to walk away. If you're not quite happy with the answer they give about controlling and avoiding client conflicts of interest, either keep asking until you get a satisfactory answer - or forget it.
3. Don't adopt a tunnel vision approach. There aren't that many specialist legal PR agencies nor are there many general PR agencies with excellent legal PR departments. If you find an agency that already works with one or more law firms (as indeed we do), then as long as you are confident there's no conflict, and they can assure you of this - you should be safe with them.
4. Think about the future. It's all very well and good doing all this research and appointing your agency, but what if they then accept another client that you believe creates a conflict with your own firm? Discuss what is/is not acceptable to you at the outset. That way there will be no nasty surprises at a later date.


By Victoria Moffatt

For more information about the legal PR services that LexRex can offer, please take a look at our website.


Alternatively, to arrange a friendly chat with Victoria, please contact us at info@lexrexcommunications.com or via Twitter @vicmoffatt or @lexrexcomms

Monday, 10 June 2013

Choosing a Legal PR Agency Part 2: Chemistry

In this, the second in a series of three posts for lawyers about choosing a legal PR agency, I'm talking about chemistry, and why it's so important.

PR is all about communications - with the media, with clients, with referrers, with staff, with partners. For maximum effectiveness, the lines of communications need to be clear. Would you trust your deepest, darkest secrets to somebody you didn't like, or worse didn't trust? Of course not and the same goes with PR.

Like it or not, to do the best job, your PR team need to know your secrets. You'll need to let the cat out of the bag and drag the skeleton out of the closet if you truly want the most out of the relationship.

Why? Because without knowing your firm's bad bits, it's difficult to promote their good bits. If you are making redundancies or considering a law firm merger - you must tell your PR immediately. If a disgruntled employee leaks the news to a journalist and we don't know about it, we're immediately on the back foot. We'll have to rush about putting together a reactive statement, the journalist will probably print something in the meantime and the rumour mill will go wild in the absence of facts.

Alternatively, you can tell us about your plans in advance (and in confidence, of course). That way, we can create a pro-active statement for release when you're ready. We can advise you on when this announcement should be made, and we can ensure that all press enquiries come through us. That way everybody is calm, the journalists get their story (with facts) and the wind is removed from your disgruntled employee's sails. Whilst not everybody will be happy, usually impossible in a redundancy or merger situation, the matter will have been handled professionally and in an ordered manner.

So; back to chemistry. Here are a few suggestions for ensuring great chemistry and a long term relationship with your legal PR team:

1. Mutual respect and trust is fundamental to a good working relationship. Meet the proposed team for coffee on at least one occasion before engaging. Be decisive and honest with yourself about whether you can work closely with them
2. If you are choosing an agency via a pitch process, check that the pitch team is also the team you'll be working with
3. Ensure that a senior member of the team will be available for day to day contact. Many agencies will use junior level staff to draft copy but strategic direction should come from above
4. Be honest at all times - communications is a two way street
5. Be willing to have difficult discussions. It's far better to be grilled by your PR in the first instance than by a journalist who has managed to get past your gatekeeper. (PRs will know exactly what questions a journalist wants to know the answers to and that's why they ask them - they're not being aggressive or nosey)
6. Take our advice - we know what we're talking about (although ensure that you have followed our advice on expertise in our 1st post on choosing a legal PR agency )
7. Stick to your side of the bargain. Be available when necessary, accept that PR is important and should be high up on your priorities and expect to be disturbed at inconvenient times - the news agenda waits for nobody.

By Victoria Moffatt

For more information about the legal PR services that LexRex can offer, please take a look at our website.

Alternatively, to arrange a friendly chat with Victoria, please contact us at info@lexrexcommunications.com or via Twitter @vicmoffatt or @lexrexcomms


Monday, 3 June 2013

Choosing a Legal PR Agency Part 1: Expertise

In this, the first of three posts on how to choose a legal PR agency, I'm writing about selecting an appropriate agency based upon its legal PR expertise. In posts two and three I'll write about chemistry and avoiding conflicts of interest.

One thing I've noticed since creating LexRex is the sudden proliferation of other agencies moving into the legal PR marketplace. Of course, there were other legal PR agencies before LexRex so I can't complain; and a little bit of competition never did anybody any harm. However, as with any other PR specialism - retail, hospitality, trade - an understanding of the industry and the work it does, is a vital part of the job description.

Any lawyer knows that to an outsider, the law can be (amongst other things) complicated, weird, logic-defying and frankly, confusing. That's why, when it comes to promoting your firm, it's important to appoint a team that appreciates the rules that bind you, and most importantly, that knows what you do and what you don't do.

I recently overheard an anecdote of a PR agency that had worked with a family law team and, during the course of the retainer, had never quite worked out the difference between public and private family law. I rest my case.

Now, I'm not suggesting that PRs should have been through law school or anything like that. However, they do need an understanding of what they are promoting. 99% of PR agencies will have the requisite expertise, and that's why they are happily and rightfully promoting their legal PR service. However, as the client, and before you enter into a 6 - 12 month retainer with your chosen agency you should consider undertaking the following actions:

1. Ask for testimonials from previous clients
2. If media coverage is important - request clippings
3. Agree targets - any good PR firm will automatically set targets without you asking
4. Meet the team you'll be working with and have a conversation about their previous legal PR experience
5. Discuss specifics - talk about the areas you want to promote and ensure that everybody understands what you do. It's reasonable to expect a basic knowledge across the proposed team.

By Victoria Moffatt

For more information about the legal PR services that LexRex can offer, please contact us at info@lexrexcommunications.com

Monday, 20 May 2013

Why Should I Use LinkedIn?

LinkedIn... It's been written about before, by many people, with lots of different things to say... Mostly covering the 'how' rather than the 'why'. Well today baby, I'm all about the 'why'.

"Why do I need to be on LinkedIn?"
Because as a client, potential introducer, business influencer or even future employee I want to know whether you're any good, who you work for, why I need to know you, and whether anybody in my network knows you, or has recommended you. If you're not on LinkedIn, my immediate thought is - WHY NOT? I'm probably going to think that you have something to hide, that you're dodgy, or perhaps worst of all; that you just can't be bothered...

"Ok - I'm 'on' LinkedIn but I don't have a photograph..." 
WHY NOT? You wouldn't turn up to a networking event with a paper bag over your face. Would you?

"Oh... well how about this 10 year old photograph from my honeymoon. I've cropped my spouse out - that's ok isn't it?"
No. It's not ok. For a start, you look pretty different now, that mullet is dreadful and you've definitely been to Specsavers since then. Get a professional shot taken. It's not expensive and you can use it on LinkedIn, on your website, for press shots, for Twitter and on your blog if you have one. Your money is always well spent on a great professional photograph.

"Right. I've now added in every role I've had since Uni. Do I really need to complete the summary section?"
I would say so. This is where you talk about what you do and what you're good at. It's also where you get to paint a bit of a picture of yourself. If you don't do this, you miss an opportunity to grab my attention, possibly make me laugh with your sparkling wit and help me to decide whether I like the look of you or not.

"What next?"
Well, that's up to you. I'm not going to force you to use LinkedIn, but I would recommend that you use it to keep a record of your contacts. You could also post interesting content on your page every now and again, as well as any media coverage of you/your firm. Maybe add links to your blog posts every so often. If you wanted to, you could endorse or even recommend a few people. Or join groups, set up your own group, or create a company page for your firm...

Sorry - just realised, I've passed from the 'why' into the 'how'.Hope you don't mind too much...

By Victoria Moffatt

For more information about the LexRex LinkedIn profile drafting and training service, and legal PR, contact us at info@lexrexcommunications.com

Monday, 13 May 2013

The Importance of Strategic Legal PR

If you 'do' PR, then you should make sure you do so in way which is strategic... That's the wisdom of today's post.

"Why?" I hear you ask - "Surely all PR is good PR". Well, yes... and no. Media coverage is a huge part of the PR skillset, of course, but if the aim is simply to 'get coverage' then you may actually be doing yourself a disservice.

All law firms should know what their key messages are. Key messages are the grounding for the associations they want their key audiences to make when they think or read about the firm. They can be as simple as:

"Niche North Yorkshire firm that offers strategic employment law support to businesses with 10 - 30 employees within a 10 mile radius of York"

Key audiences are the people the firm want to engage with. They will typically include clients, potential clients, referrers and business influencers. Law firms should identify their key audiences and then make sure their PR activities are relevant to, and connect with these audiences.

For example, there would be little point in the above firm (which is invented, of course) securing a feature on 'bringing an employment tribunal against your employer'. Such an article would be on entirely the wrong topic, would be in front of the wrong audiences, and would give the impression that the firm specialises in employment law for employees.

Of course, this is a throwaway example and wouldn't happen in real life.

However - next time you ask your marketing manager or PR firm to write a release, or next time they approach you with a suggestion for an article - just think about your key messages and audiences and ascertain whether the action proposed is appropriate...

By Victoria Moffatt

For more information about mapping your key messages and audiences, and planning strategic legal PR for your law firm, contact us at info@lexrexcommunications.com.




Monday, 29 April 2013

Getting The Most Value From Legal PR

Well, it's back to the LexRex blog after a foray back in time over on the VicMoffatt blog last week.

This week I started thinking about the clients I work with at the moment, and the law firm clients that I've previously managed in an earlier life working in PR agencies. This made me think about 'value' and how lawyers can ensure they get the most of this from their legal PR activities.

I've always found that the most successful campaigns involve a combination of great PR expertise (that's a given), sparkling imagination and a sense of humour, and from the lawyers; interest, enthusiasm, a basic understanding of PR and a willingness to stand up and be counted.

To get straight to the point of this post; PR needs top-level buy in and continued support. That's the bottom line. So what can lawyers do to ensure they get the most out of their agency or in-house team?

  1. Tell us about your business. We need to know what's going on - good and bad. If you're merging, making redundancies, or experiencing huge growth; then tell us. We can maximise the good news, and manage the bad. Trust us, it's part of our job to keep secrets.
  2. Commit to regular (but effective) meetings. Ideally these should combine elements of review and forward planning and last no more than 45 minutes. Actions should be clearly defined and deadlined.
  3. Respond to requests quickly and clearly. A 'yes' or 'no' answer is usually enough in the first instance. For example - do you want to provide comments on the Budget to one of the key local business publications? 'Yes' or 'No' = SIMPLES. A quick 'yes' allows your PR to approach the publication, write comments, seek approval for these, and amend them if necessary. Little effort required from you - just a few moments to review and approve.
  4. Be enthusiastic. If you have something interesting and different to say, people are more likely to listen. We act as your media filter - say what you want in front of us, and we'll polish it and make it media-friendly.
  5. Allow us to write content from scratch. Expecting us to rehash something you've written wastes both your time (scratching your head and then typing/ dictating) and ours (trying to polish your comments, whilst also avoiding offence). 
  6. Don't be afraid to have your own ideas - but listen to us when we say no. We absolutely appreciate input, but trust us to know what works and what doesn't.
  7. Expect and embrace targets. The days of 'we'll give you x days per month for £x' are over. As the client (of an agency or in-house team) it's reasonable to expect deliverables. Admittedly, PR success can be difficult to measure on a budget, but it is possible to set basic targets such as outputs, target publications, key messages, sentiment. And for social media such as Twitter - audiences, follower numbers, conversation levels and retweets. For those with more money to spend, it's possible to measure audience awareness on a 'before' and 'after' basis, as well as a whole host of other things.
All things considered, a pretty straightforward list of things to think about - so what are you waiting for?

By Victoria Moffatt.

For more information about LexRex and our legal PR service, please contact us at info@lexrexcommunications.com

Monday, 22 April 2013

A Slight Change...

A slight change in the usual running order... This week I've written a post on my other, personal blog. I decided to review my very first blog - written in November 2010. In that post I asked whether the legal profession in the UK was teetering on the edge of revolution.

So - have things changed since then? Only one way to find out...

A Review, a Rethink and a Rebrand

Monday, 15 April 2013

The Importance of Being Yourself on Twitter

Another week, another post on Twitter. They just keep on coming... Feel free to complain to the management. It's a pretty short one this time though.

Anyway, over the last seven days, I got thinking about Twitter (again) and in particular my most recent post about how I use Twitter to build lasting relationships. That particular piece made me stop for a moment, and think about the importance of being 'yourself' on Twitter.

So, do people do this? I'm not sure. I suspect that many of the lawyers I see on Twitter are there because they think they should be, and I do see a lot of streams that I just think - 'really - why bother'. They are typically made up of RTs, don't really involve any interaction with other accounts, are rarely used and are frankly boring. It's a bit like going to a party and refusing to speak to anybody - you're there, but you're not. If you see what I mean.

So in a roundabout way, I think what I'm saying is this: to be the belle of the Twitter ball, a sparkling, sociable Twitter-ite; just try to inject a little personality into your tweets. I know we can't all be on Twitter 24/7 - in fact, I often miss the 5 - 10 tweets per day minimum as spouted by a variety of social media 'gurus'...

Views, anyone?

By Victoria Moffatt

For more information about the LexRex strategic Twitter consultancy and training sessions for lawyers, please contact us at info@lexrexcommunications.com.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Building Lasting Relationships With Twitter

Last week I wrote about Twitter, and why I use it. This week I've decided to examine one of my points in more detail, that is; how I create and build lasting relationships with Twitter.

Twitter is many things to many people, but for me, it's really just a massive, ongoing networking event. When I say networking, what I really mean is 'socialising with a purpose'. In fact, that's pretty much how I define any of the networking activities I take part in. I'm not one for 'working the room' - I think it's cheesy and people hate feeling like they've been looked up and down, sussed out and rejected as a non-prospect.

For me, Twitter is the same. I will talk to anybody friendly, interesting, chatty etc. Sometimes though, I will have a conversation with a person I realise I would like to meet (and also that it's practical to meet - there are some fabulous people I've come to know well over the years that I would dearly love to meet, but who simply live/work too far away).

Anyway - back to my point. I've probably been in contact with this person over a fair amount of time, perhaps days, weeks or even months. They are probably somebody working in the same sector as me, I may be able to help them with something, perhaps it's somebody I can refer things to, or even somebody I can potentially work with. Either way, I'd like to meet them. 

Now - to me it's obvious, but in the same way as I would if I met them at a networking event, I ask them if they'd be happy to meet for a coffee. This can go one of three ways - they say yes, say no or simply ignore me. Well that's absolutely fair enough. Most of the time people say yes - apart from one chap who said no, because he thought I was asking him out on a date. Ouch. Maybe I should have been a little clearer in my approach on that occasion...

So once we've agreed to meet for coffee, it's email time and then meeting time. The relationship has now been taken offline and into real life. It is now 'proper'. It's also now up to me to maintain it and ensure it lasts. Twitter has done it's job.

By Victoria Moffatt



Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Twitter Strategy For Lawyers

This week - I'm all about the strategy. Twitter strategy for lawyers, that is. The past few years have seen a huge increase in lawyers and law firms using Twitter. Is this a great thing, or all just a terrible misunderstanding? Well... that depends.

Twitter is a wonderful thing for business development and great for raising your personal profile or your firm's profile, but - used without strategic direction - ultimately a brilliant time-waster.

So, a word from the wise - before you jump in - consider what you're trying to achieve. I'm not suggesting you should write a 1000 word strategy document, just have a think about what you want to achieve by joining Twitter; an ROI if you will.

I didn't do this when I joined - but then I was quite an early adopter. Back then, I'm not sure any of us knew what we were doing. Nowadays, I know that I can use Twitter for the following:
  1. Breaking news: time and time again I discover things on Twitter before they are reported anywhere else. Often hours before. 
  2. Meeting people (yes really): By responding to tweets and chatting away with people I don't know, I build on-line relationships. I then take these off-line and start to grow 'proper' relationships IRL (in real life).
  3. Business development: I say this cautiously. I don't sell on Twitter. Never have, never will. However, I do promote this blog there, and I also have a dedicated LexRex account which I sometimes use to spread good news and business achievements. I suppose really this heading should be 'raise awareness of LexRex'. Whatever. *Another word to the wise - don't sell on Twitter.
  4. Spreading news: A lot of people do this on Twitter now, and it's a quick and easy way for you, or your firm to be associated with a certain industry, theme or trend. I try and tweet breaking legal news - it's of interest to the people I want to appeal to, and it means I'm associated with the legal profession. 
So - Twitter strategy. Do you have one?

By Victoria Moffatt

Monday, 25 March 2013

Why Should Lawyers Enter Awards? - Part 3

In this, the third instalment in the Why Should Lawyers Enter Awards? series, we're providing some handy tips on writing winning award entries.

By now, you should have found an award you want to enter, as a team, individually or as a firm. You've analysed the criteria, looked up the previous winners and you're feeling pretty confident about your prospects.

So, first things first; read the application pack thoroughly and ensure that you have all the information you need to hand. You may be asked to supply basics such as turnover, profit, employee numbers - as well as an email address and telephone number for the lead contact. Don't fall at the first hurdle by failing to provide these basics or getting them wrong.

Next up - the nitty gritty - also know as demonstrating how you, your team or your firm meet the award criteria. At this point, you should check that you do meet these. If you don't, think seriously about your prospects of success and if necessary, dump the entry.

Now everybody writes differently, but a little strategic thinking can go a long way. Consider writing an 'award plan' or 'road map' to ensure that you properly deal with each of the criteria. Back up each point with facts and figures where possible.

Be excited about the entry - invite the reader to take a metaphorical ride with you, illustrating your successes, and the reasons you deserve to win. If you have a great writer in your team - utilise their skills. If you struggle with this sort of thing, and (being honest with yourself) just don't have the ability to write creatively - outsource. There are plenty of PR firms and freelance writers who will help you out and you don't have to blow the budget. In fact, you are likely to spend less getting an award drafted than you would lose in fee-earning time if you were to struggle on alone.

Once you're happy that your entry meets all of the criteria, carry out some further basic checks:

  1. Word count: don't exceed this. The judges will have enough work to do already so don't make it harder for them - they'll hate you, and they may disqualify your entry
  2. Spelling and grammar: it's obvious but check, check and check again. 
  3. Style: Print the entry and read it out loud - this may sound like bonkers advice but it enables you to gain a different perspective and is likely to throw up a few areas requiring attention
Once you're happy with the entry - submit it - making sure you follow the submission guidelines: if they say email, don't post it. If they don't ask for supporting evidence, don't send it.

And - last but by no means least - don't miss the deadline...

Good luck!

By Victoria Moffatt




Monday, 18 March 2013

Why Should Lawyers Enter Awards? - Part 2

So - why should lawyers enter awards? Well, last week we covered that basic point and this week, we've written about finding good awards for lawyers to enter.

First up, sounds (and is) obvious - but do a Google search to see whether there are any local business awards you can enter. Once you've ascertained whether there are - check out the categories. Typical categories include:

1. Business of the Year and potentially Small, Medium, Large and Family Business of the Year
2. Employer of the Year
3. Start-up of the Year
4. Most Innovative Business
5. Rising Star

There may also be more specific categories such as:

1. Legal Services Provider of the Year
2. Advisor of the Year
3. Deal of the Year

Or individual categories such as:

1. Entrepreneur of the Year
2. Lifetime Contribution
3. Young Achiever

Your next step should be to think about which categories you could enter. At this stage, take a step back from the obvious pride you have for your business, and sense check your prospects of winning.

Of course - winning isn't everything. Well, actually - when it comes to awards - you want to at least be shortlisted, and ideally you want to win. Nothing wrong with that.

If possible, find a neutral third party to consider your prospects. Work through each of the criteria and be completely honest with yourself as to whether or not your business meets them. If it doesn't meet the majority of them - dump the category. Many awards entries come with a fee to enter, and they can be very time consuming to draft. Apply common sense here or face disappointment in the long run.

Now you know which awards to enter - congratulations! Next week - writing winning awards entries.

By Victoria Moffatt





Monday, 11 March 2013

Why Should Lawyers Enter Awards? – Part 1


This week's post is the first in a series of three about awards for lawyers, and the part they play in promoting lawyers and law firms.

The Manchester Legal Awards, which took place on Thursday 7th March 2013 – and which we were lucky enough to attend, made us think about the importance of awards, and how they can be used to help promote law firms.

These days there are any number of awards evenings, and most towns and cities have at least one set for local businesses. In Manchester, we have The Insider Dealmakers Awards, The North West Business Masters, The Salford Business Awards, The Downtown Manchester Business Awards – the list goes on.

Business awards are important as they provide independent recognition for a whole range of different things – most successful, newest, most innovative, lifetime achievement, biggest deal, most inspirational. Chosen well, and in conjunction with other PR activities, awards can help law firms to raise awareness of their existence, but also to promote specific elements of their brand. For example, a law firm that has decided to really focus upon its customer service is likely to be able to find an award which recognises exceptional service. A firm that specialises in legal aid, and which has handled a number of challenging cases is likely to be able to find an award for that too.

Awards are great because they provide multiple opportunities for publicity. Most awards events have a media partner to write about the awards in the run up to submission deadlines, on announcement of the short list and following the event.

There are at least 5 potential opportunities to raise your firm's profile if you enter and win an award:

1. On short listing – the media partner will announce the list

2. On winning – your representative may be invited to make a brief speech to the audience. If   
    you've chosen a suitable award, this should be full of potential clients

3. On winning – your representative will be photographed and may be asked for a quote.  
    The image (and potentially the quote) will appear in the media partner's coverage of the    
    awards, on the website and probably on the website for the awards the following year

4. After winning – you can cross-reference the coverage, or even better, write your own blog 
    post about the experience

5. After winning – you can use the award logo in your emails, on letterhead and on your 
    website

Bingo!

If you've decided to enter awards, the first step is working out which ones are most relevant for your firm, and which you stand the best chance of winning. We'll cover this next week.

By Victoria Moffatt

Monday, 4 March 2013

Legal Bloggers: Avoiding Writers Block


Ahhh, blogging. One of life's joys – right? But what do you do when writer's block strikes? Avoiding writer's block may sound like an impossible trick but there are things the frustrated writer can do to ease the pain.

First up, keep a list of potential blog topics. Not exactly rocket science this one but inspiration truly strikes at the strangest times. For us, it's often in meetings – embarrassing no? When it does, whip out your Iphone (other models do exist) and stick it on a list. Alternatively, go 'old skool' and scribble it down somewhere. Having a stack of titles or ideas is great when you're short of time or inspiration but want to write.

Create a plan – when you were at school and had to write essays in exams, weren't you always told to write an essay plan? Although your blog won't be marked, it's still sensible advice. A plan helps you to think through your content, and outline what you want to include and leave out. It should also help with flow. Here at LexRex we like plans.

Use the news agenda as a springboard. There is very rarely a lack of news, and none of us lives in a vacuum. So keep track of what's going on – and not just legal news – lifestyle and culture pages are also great for ideas, themes and trends.

Allow yourself to get distracted. Obsessing about your lack of ideas, content or ability to write sensibly will not help. So do the washing, dig out the iron or mop the floor. In other words – take a break. On a similar note, get a change of scenery. Physically stepping away from your desk can really help.

Try cheating... or in other words, build a collection of guest posts from your favourite bloggers. It is a real compliment to be asked to write as a guest, and common to swap content. So if you are struggling, ask for help and give yourself a rest – it's not cheating really!

So what did you think of our tips for avoiding writer's block? Did we miss any? Let us know – opinions always welcome.

By Victoria Moffatt

Monday, 25 February 2013

Cobbetts & HMV: The Lessons For Law Firms


Halliwells, Dewey and LeBoeuf and now Cobbetts. Three high profile law firms who have gone bankrupt in the last few years. If I am honest, I am surprised that we don’t have more law firms on this list. Perhaps this is because, as my good friend David Tovey says, professional service firms don’t go under, they just merge! In fact, I am not alone, in September 2012, the association of Business Recovery Professionals (R3) predicted that just under 25% of law firms were at risk of going bust.

However, if you look at big retailers who have gone into administration over the last few years, it is a sobering exercise. Companies with proud heritages and previously solid profit and loss accounts such as HMV, Blockbusters, Jessops, Clinton Cards, Woolworths, Habitat et al have all gone to the wall. Leaving behind them empty shop fronts and a dwindling sense of purpose for the UK's high streets.

There are many people, particularly in relation to HMV going into administration, who point the blame squarely at the on-line retailing giants such as Amazon. Or they point the blame at us, the consumer. How could we dare to let our high street die a long and slow death? Why have we chosen convenience and better customer service?

My viewpoint on this matter is actually very different, these retailers failed to notice and act promptly when the internet changed the way we shop. In 2002 Philip Beeching, advertising executive who had held the HMV account for many years, told the MD and assembled directors in a pitch for their future business:

"The three greatest threats to HMV are, online retailers, downloadable music and supermarkets discounting loss leader products."

The meeting came to a very abrupt end and Philip was chucked out of the building. The MD had dismissed his opinion as rubbish, saying that users downloading music from the internet was a passing fad. Consumers would always want to buy their music from a store. (For the full story see The Media Briefing blog article written by Patrick Smith.) It's that unwillingness to look ahead and see the writing on the wall which, in my opinion, the high street law firm is suffering from at the moment.

I am not a lone voice in this opinion. Take Richard Susskind in his recent article on legal futures where he says that there is no future for the high street firm. Interestingly the first comment on his article, says:

"Susskind spouts alarmist rubbish in a vain effort to convince the wealth of doubters that he is worth listening to. He isn’t."

This comment neatly sums up where many of the partners in high street law firms are sat - head in the sand and like the HMV CEO, chucking out people who are trying to show they how they will need to change and adapt to remain in business.

Cobbetts may have ultimately collapsed because of high debts, high overheads and two quarter’s disastrous trading conditions, but how much of their commercial woes are down to their inability to adjust to the changing legal market place? This was a firm with a very strong property specialism, which makes you wonder whether the partners just refused to adapt to the changing ways consumers are now buying legal services.

Let's look dispassionately, at the typical high street law firm. How many of them are acting in a truly client centric way? Very few (excluding the great work being done by Quality Solicitors in this space) I would suggest. Can you ring or speak to your lawyer about your house purchase outside of 9-5, mon to friday? I doubt it. Does your solicitor come to your house at a time convenient to you to help you with writing your will? It's no wonder that we now have a thriving will writer's industry all prepared to come to you and work with you at a time and a place convenient to you.

How long will it take for us, the consumers, to vote with our feet and choose a legal service that's transparent, efficient (after all the billable hour rewards anything but efficiency), client centric, and delivered in a way that convenient for us rather than the firm of solicitors.

In ten years time, will we be moaning the end of the high street law firm and pointing the finger squarely at the Quality Solicitors, BT Legal, Rocket Lawyer, Co-op or any of the 450+ companies that applied to be an ABS in the last 12 months? Or will we be telling partners in law firms, you didn't listen to us?

Heather Townsend helps professionals become the ‘Go-To-Expert’. She is the author of the award-winning book, ‘The FT Guide To Business Networking’ and the co-author of ‘How to make partner and still have a life’. Over the past decade she has worked with over 300 partners, coached and trained over 1000 professionals from UK and international mid-tier and UK based professional practices. Heather regularly blogs at Partnership Potential, How to make partner and Joined Up Networking.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Lawyers: How To Write Clearly

Of course, for lawyers, language is everything – writing clauses, interpreting phrases, arguing over construction and meaning; it's all part of the day job, right?

So why do I (Victoria) so often see boring law blogs or blawgs? Maybe I'm not the target audience, but having been a practising solicitor, I'm pretty certain I have the mental capacity to choose between an intellectually stimulating blog, with challenging or complicated legal concepts, and one which is frankly; RUBBISH. The point I'm making is that you can't fob me off with the old 'I'm writing it for other lawyers' excuse sometimes given for yawn-worthy content.

Much will depend on the audience you're writing for. Hang on – you have thought about your audience, haven't you? Or are you just writing, writing, writing without a second thought? If so; how are you getting along with the old reader numbers?

It's easy to sit down and 'bash out' a case report, client update letter or particulars of claim. What may need a little more consideration is your personal, or indeed firm's blog. If you are trying to attract a loyal audience, you should think about the following:

Why are you writing? Is it a hobby, to increase your knowledge and understanding of a particular area of law, or are you striving to become that 'go to' expert?

Who is the blog aimed at? Is it clients or potential clients, is it other lawyers, is it your colleagues?

What is the blog about? Is it strictly case law, criticism of LASPO, your journey to obtain a training contract?

A blog featured on a specialist employment law firm's website, written with the aim of attracting corporate clients, will (should) be very different to a blog discussing one man or woman's personal crusade to find a job.

So next time you sit down to scribble, have a think about what you are trying to achieve.

By Victoria Moffatt

Monday, 11 February 2013

How Do I Write A Press Release? A Lawyer's Guide...


Well hopefully this week's blog will provide a handy check list for those of you wanting to write and issue your own press release.

A word of warning, a disclaimer if you will – we here at LexRex are not suggesting you should write or issue your own press release. At the end of the day, we're the pro's and we're blummin' good at our jobs. But, if you insist, these are our handy tips:


  1. Get your title right. It must be interesting but to the point. Avoid using clich├ęd terms.
  2. Get your facts right – there is nothing more embarrassing than grovelling to a busy journalist, begging them to change a spelling or add an extra decimal point. You'll likely annoy the journalist and look a bit daft in the process.
  3. Get your layout right – use a simple font, Arial will do. Apply a decent sized text, 12 is fine; and use 1.5 line spacing. It's just what journalists expect to see.
  4. A picture says a thousand words – it's true, a nice image usually goes far. If you are going to send an accompanying pic, have it professionally taken. For the sake of £100 quid or thereabouts, it's worth it.
  5. Don't waffle – keep it to the point, 300 – 500 words is fine.
  6. Write a quote – and make sure it's interesting and relevant.
  7. Include contact details – if the journalist wants more information (generally acknowledged as a good thing), make it easy for them.


Have we missed anything?

By Victoria Moffatt

Monday, 4 February 2013

Why Lawyers Need To Raise Their Profiles


"I don't want to blow my own trumpet..?!"

Well we say - more fool you - and we're very serious! Apologies if this comes across as a bit blunt, but if you don't blow your trumpet, it will simply wait silently in the corner, forgotten about.

The time has now gone for lawyers to sit back and wait for the work to come in. But wait, you know that – it's the reason you network isn't it? Our view is that networking alone, as powerful as it is, just isn't enough. Your networking activities need to be supported by your reputation and brand.

After a networking event, most people sift through the cards they have been given and make a number of decisions. These are usually along the following lines:

Did I like this person?

If yes, is it likely that we can help each other out in the future (or more commonly – can they help me out?)

If the answer is 'yes' to both of the above, the next move is usually to look that person up on LinkedIn, perhaps also on Twitter, and Google their business.

Consider this; if somebody liked you and thought there may be value in following up after that initial meeting, what would they think if there was no trace of you or your company on Google, LinkedIn or Twitter? Or what about if they tracked you down on LinkedIn - what would they think of your slightly crappy profile, complete with blurry photograph. How about if they found your dusty website, last updated 12 months ago and still showing contact details for long-retired partners.

Well - we wouldn't be impressed. We would probably think:

This person isn't serious about their business - will it still exist in 6 months' time?

How will we keep in touch if they don't use LinkedIn?

How can I find out more about their business when their website is so out-of-date?

Are they actually doing any business at the moment?

Are they struggling financially?

Now we're not suggesting you need to spend all your time shouting from the rooftops about how great your business is (although we do think it makes good sense to spend some time doing that) - we're simply saying get the basics right.

Ensure you have a good professional photograph on your LinkedIn page. Make sure your profile is correct, up to date and interesting. Try to make the person you are describing on your profile actually sound like you. Don't be afraid to include a little personal information (not your birthday).

Keep your website fresh; when people move on - take down their profiles, when you have news - announce it. Think about writing a blog or creating regular newsletters.

For more tips on Legal PR, tune in next Monday. Before then, we would love to hear what you think. Do you agree with what we say, or do you have different views. All thoughts welcomed.

By Victoria Moffatt

Monday, 28 January 2013

How To Write a Law Blog...

"I can't write a blog!?"


First up, why do you say that? If it's because you truly are a terrible writer, then that's fair enough and in that case STEP. AWAY. FROM. THE. KEYBOARD.

Otherwise, you may be missing a trick. Done well, a blog can be a wonderful thing. It can be somewhere that you escape into the deepest depths of the most obscure case law, it can be a safe place to explore your opinions and thoughts on the demise of legal aid or the state of the PI market or simply where you deposit your thoughts on what it's like to be a lawyer. All very interesting subjects.

A blog can also be used to showcase expertise, explain difficult legal concepts or shout about good news. Written well, it can be something that clients turn to, in order to discover more about you and/or your firm's personality and hopefully, like what they see.

The good thing about legal blogs is that they can be whatever you want them to be. A firm blog can be used to talk about interesting cases, new instructions and that charity walk you did where you all wore matching T-shirts and raised £1,000. A personal blog could cover your fight to get a training contract, or even your day to day experiences.

Done badly though, a blog can be a terrible, awful thing. Turgid, long-winded, pompous posts can be enough to send the most intellectual of us running for the hills in tears; blogs that have been left to moulder like Miss Havisham's wedding breakfast, with the first (and last) post written 18 months ago; or posts that are shoddily written, with dodgy grammar and spelling mistakes.

That said though, the point of this post is to celebrate the legal blog, or blawg if you prefer. If you have a passion for a particular area of law, trend or something else entirely then why not turn it into a blog?

Our top tips for legal bloggers are:

1. Choose a topic you are passionate about

2. Try to keep posts to less than 1000 words

3. Blog as regularly as you are able

4. If it is a blog for your firm – mix up your content

5. Enjoy! - it's supposed to be fun...

By Victoria Moffatt

Monday, 21 January 2013

A Brief PR Guide for Lawyers


Some people want to do everything themselves, and that's just fine. We also know that not everyone can afford to pay for external legal PR assistance. So here at LexRex, we thought we would put together a mini-guide to help you kick-start your PR.

Essentially this guide can be broken down into three very simple steps:

  1. Consider what you are trying to achieve
  2. Define your target audience
  3. Get brainstorming and plan your campaign
For more information on each, read on...

Firstly, you need to think about what you are trying to do. Sounds obvious perhaps but consider whether you want to become a 'go to' expert for your particular specialism, or if you want to grow your business in a currently obscure sector. Maybe you simply have some great news that you want to shout about but don't know where to start.

Once you have decided upon the outcome that you would like to achieve, you need to think about who you need to aim your efforts towards; in other words, who do you need to speak to? This may be potential clients, referrers or even your colleagues.

Next up, spend some time thinking about how you are going to get there. If your aim is to become that 'go to' expert, have a think about how you might achieve that aim. You could consider writing a blog specialising in your niche, or running a series of seminars; you could carry out research and write a white paper – there are lots of different things you can do, so put your thinking hat on. At this stage, try and involve other people, it's often easier to come up with great ideas when there are a few of you.

Have a look at what your competitors are doing on the PR front. Check out the things that you like, and those that you don't. This research will help you to define your approach.
Once you've decided upon a strategy, and come up with some clever tactics, you are ready to crack on.

DO let us know how you get on, and whether this guide was helpful.

By Victoria Moffatt

Monday, 14 January 2013

The 7 Golden LexRex Rules for Twitter


Legal blogger, Charon QC has stated on a number of occasions that 'there are no rules on Twitter'.

That's the long and short of it, and here at LexRex, we tend to agree.  However, we have created our own good conduct rules, which we try follow as a matter of course.

So these are our rules:

  1. Be nice at all times. You wouldn't be mean face-to-face, so why do it in cyber-space?
  2. Be yourself. As in real life, tweeps can spot a fake a mile off.
  3. Spell correctly and sort out your grammar, but don't be afraid to throw in a few silly made-up words and emoticons. Why? Like with email, it can be difficult to read humour into 140 characters. A little silliness never goes amiss.
  4. Don't shout, or rather, don't broadcast (excessively - see point 5). You wouldn't walk into a networking event and start shouting at the room. Don't do it on Twitter – people will think you're weird and rude. Not good.
  5. OK, a little broadcasting is ok - for example, if you want people to read your latest blog post. We try and stick to the 80:20 rule of 80% conversational and/or interesting content tweets, to a maximum of 20% promotional tweets.
  6. Don't engage in arguments. If you disagree with something posted on Twitter, not a problem, but think long and hard before you enter into this sort of dialogue with a fellow user. Why? Everybody can see the argument, and it is easy to enter into a virtual slanging match. Uncool.
  7. Don't pester people. If you @ mention them, and they don't reply, that's ok. Don't challenge them about it - they may have put their phone or laptop down to make a cup of tea, or go to a meeting. Or they may have chosen not to reply. Respect their right to ignore you.

We're not suggesting that these are hard and fast rules, or that everyone should follow them, but we like them. All thoughts welcome as ever...

If you are interested in Twitter, you may like to read this related post:

LexRex founder, Victoria Moffatt, recently wrote about etiquette around 'following back' when you gain new followers: http://www.vicmoffatt.com/2013/01/tweet-tweet-to-follow-or-not.html

By Victoria Moffatt