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Key to legal thought leadership strategy: Researching issues, trends

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RESEARCH CAN BUILD LAWYERS’ REPUTATIONS AS THOUGHT LEADERS

Original article published 11/4/14 – Campos.com

By: Steven Alschuler

Having worked with numerous law firms over the years, as well as the largest voluntary state bar association in the country, I’ve seen a wide disparity in the way lawyers perceive the potential for coverage in the media. These different mindsets are not necessarily related to whether the firm is large or small, global or local, or whether its clients are plaintiffs or Fortune 500 companies. More often, it depends on partners’ perceptions about the competitive landscape and the value of more effective external visibility in their business development and retention efforts.

The most successful public relations campaigns for law firms are ones built on thought leadership rather than hype—projecting lawyers as experts on the issues facing their clients, who can provide insights into emerging trends and how best to prepare for them. Being able to comment in the media on those issues and trends—even without naming clients—provides an extra level of credibility and validation.  If The Wall Street Journal quotes you, the thinking goes, you must be an expert.

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Spoiling for a Fight

In her book about former New York Governor and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, Spoiling for a Fight, 2007, writer Brooke Masters recounts Steve Alschuler’s role in Spitzer’s campaign.

“Eliot [Spitzer] started buying air time for commercials and hired a public relations consultant, Steven Alschuler, to introduce him to the media. . . . The consultant knew that the New York media would be immediately skeptical of a political newcomer with family money to burn, but Alschuler figured that if he could just get the Albany press corp to sit down with Spitzer, they would be as impressed as he was.  By and large, the strategy worked.  Newspapers that had started off describing Spitzer as an afterthought began running pieces about his command and passion for the issues.”

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Communicating Effectively When Bad News Breaks

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This originally was an article written by Steve Alschuler for Law360.

Original article – Law360

Law360, New York (August 19, 2009, 11:13 AM ET) — We recently met with a member of the executive committee of a large, well-known law firm, which had been the subject of a lot of negative media coverage in the wake of some layoffs, partner defections and other cost-cutting measures.

He felt the firm’s actions had been misunderstood and mischaracterized by the media, which had led to misunderstandings and a disintegration of morale within the firm — which in turn threatened to cause more defections and potentially a loss of confidence in the firm by its clients.

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Steve Alschuler writes about crisis communications for O’Dwyer’s PR magazine

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“When crisis strikes, don’t duck and cover”

When crises hits and the media starts calling, there’s often an
impulse simply to dodge the issue at hand, for a variety of
reasons that may seem plausible at the time.

Scroll to page 14 to see Steve’s feature article:  http://www.odwyerpr.com/magazine/odwyers-magazine-jan-2012.pdf

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