7 Tips For Law Firm PR and Business Development Teams to Work Together More Effectively

by JD Supra Perspectives

With real-time technology and a profusion of client relationship platforms to connect data and spark ingenuity, legal marketing teams should communicate seamlessly and understand each other’s functions.

But what may be missing from the equation is something that doesn’t cost the firm a dime: conversation. In particular, PR practioners often feel isolated from their own marketing and business development peers because the industry is misunderstood or the manager has not demonstrated the value of PR to others.

PR should be part of a BD plan, not an afterthought...

Novices to PR think the industry is solely focused on “appearing in the news media.” While the media is one channel of PR, it is only a small piece of an overall communications strategy.

PR managers and communications leaders should be engaged from the very beginning when a law firm rebrands or creates business development plans.  Ultimately, how you are perceived via your website, collateral, events, and social media is explained through words and optics. In an already crowded field of professional services using content to differentiate, you don’t get many opportunities to move the needle. Strategy and consistency within the team matter.

How can PR and BD teams work together effectively?

Here are a few tactical tips to strive for in your marketing departments.

1. Communicate internally 

With permission from your attorneys, share your results internally with your various marketing teams to determine how they can best be repurposed. Does your firm have a system to track wins? With client permission, determine if the result can be shared externally.

2. Listen like a reporter 

When you attend practice group meetings, is there a public issue repeatedly surfacing that can be transformed into a campaign? Share that upcoming law or regulation change with your PR team.

...is there a public issue repeatedly surfacing that can be transformed into a campaign?

3. Pay attention to the rock stars 

If a particular lawyer is getting regularly assigned challenging projects, brought up in conversations by senior management and bringing in new business, consider that attorney for honors and rankings. If BD doesn’t share that insight with the PR team, you are missing an opportunity.

4. PR should be part of a BD plan, not an afterthought 

When your attorneys are developing their business development plans, media placements should be part of the strategy. Attorneys should set goals to include authored articles, presentations and expert source quotes in the media to demonstrate to clients they are on top of the law and understand the industries they serve.

Attorneys should set goals to include authored articles, presentations and expert source quotes in the media...

5. Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose 

For PR pros, when an attorney lands an authored article in a prominent publication, inform your BD team. Perhaps the article should be considered for inclusion in your next pitch proposal? Or, maybe the article should be sent to the client with a personal note offering a meeting to answer any questions the client may have about the article.

6. Brainstorm with unlikely partners 

There is nothing better than a good brainstorming session to generate new and creative ways to promote your firm. BD and communications should meet separately but strive to have a monthly team meeting to discuss the big ideas and whittle down a team approach to an upcoming campaign. You never know when the most unlikely member of your team may sprout a few seedlings that could grow into the next big idea. 

7. Get out from behind the computer 

Branch out beyond your own team. We are all barraged with emails. A request to an attorney can be perceived as “just another task they have to complete.” Pick up the phone or stop by the office of the attorney for face time. Engage with your internal clients like you want the attorneys to engage with their clients.  You may notice a picture on the wall or a book on the shelf that could strike up a conversation leading to your next PR idea. I once landed a writing opportunity for an attorney after noticing pictures of father and son annual golf trips to exotic locations. It became a business article entitled “Lessons Learned on the Golf Course,” which was published in a Denver newspaper.

Combining PR and BD is an effective strategy to help reach your firm’s long-term plans. We encourage our attorneys to cross-sell their services within their firms. We should swallow that same advice.


[Heather McMichael connects lawyers and reporters as the Media Relations Manager at Shook, Hardy & Bacon. She is a former television journalist and produced a documentary about a legal trailblazer that played on PBS stations across the country. For more information contact her at podcasts@listentolawyers.com.]

Written by:

JD Supra Perspectives

JD Supra Perspectives on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.