Most press releases from attorneys and their firms are junk. Here is how to make yours stand out.

Bottom line: The most effective law firm press releases regarding legal disputes translate those disputes into plain English for the media and the public.

Let’s talk about the sorry state of press releases that are issued by attorneys and their law firms about their active cases.

It never ceases to amaze me just how poor these press releases tend to be.

They tend to be junk.

And they tend to be junk for two main reasons.

First, a lot of these press releases are self-promotional.

They talk about everything from the law firm’s perspective. The law firm filed THIS case. The law firm has experience doing THIS kind of work. And of course, the press release contains quotes from 17 different attorneys at that firm — only two of whom are actually on the case.

The second reason why press releases are junk, typically, when they’re issued by attorneys and law firms about pending cases is that these press releases are written by people who don’t understand how to translate the legal claims and factual allegations in those cases into non-legalese, plain English that can be easily digested by the media and the public.

Sometimes, these press releases are written by the attorneys themselves who struggle with decoding and translating legalese into plain English.

Other times, these press releases are written by in-house marketing people or outside public relations people who don’t have the legal knowledge necessary to translate legal claims and factual allegations into plain English that’s easily digestible by the media and the public.

The role of a press release when it’s issued about an active case—not necessarily a settlement but an active case — is to serve as a CliffsNotes version of the complaint or the underlying legal papers.

The way to craft an effective law firm press release about active litigation is to write it in a way that helps people understand what the filing is, or what the development is about.

People are not going to flip through a 50-page complaint with 100 pages’ worth of exhibits.

That’s why a press release regarding a court filing is so important. The document exists to:

  • Summarize the content of the filing and put it in perspective; and
  • Frame it for the media and the public so they understand exactly why what’s being stated in the filing is relevant, why it is significant, etc.

But, again, most attorneys and law firms don’t see press releases as tools to help reporters and the public understand the gist of a development in a case.

They, unfortunately, see press releases as purely self-promotional tools.

The next press release you write about a pending case that you have at your firm should be written in a way that helps the public and the media understand what the case or the development is about.

It should not be a purely self-promotional puff piece.

If it is, it belongs in the pile of junk next to most of the other press releases that attorneys and law firms put out about their cases.

Do better.

Stand out by actually providing useful content in your press release that will help a reporter and the public understand what you’re doing with the case.

When you do that, you are likely to find reporters are more likely to cover the story if its newsworthy because they actually understand it.

Avoid the temptation of making a press release all about you and your law firm.

Make it all about the case.

Make it all about the claims and the client.

If you do, you’ll see that your press release will be more likely to catch the eyes of the media and the public.

And, it will be better than the vast majority of press releases that are put out there by attorneys and law firms about their cases.

Bottom line: The most effective law firm press releases regarding legal disputes translate those disputes into plain English for the media and the public.

Wayne Pollock is the founder and managing attorney of Copo Strategies in Philadelphia, a national legal services and communications firm. Attorneys and law firms enlist Copo Strategies to engage the media and the public regarding their clients’ cases (to help resolve those cases favorably), and to engage the media, referral sources and prospective clients regarding their firms (to help bring new client matters in the door). Contact him at waynepollock@copostrategies.com or 215–454–2180.[1][2][3][4]

References

  1. ^ Wayne Pollock (www.copostrategies.com)
  2. ^ Copo Strategies (www.copostrategies.com)
  3. ^ waynepollock@copostrategies.com (copocetic.com)
  4. ^ 215–454–2180 (dialpad.com)
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