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

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