How To Be the Lawyer Who Reporters Call

by Knapp Marketing

[co-author: Lauren Orsini]

Every day the media issues a barrage of stories about congressional investigations, executive orders, tax reform and federal indictments, and lawyers are in hot demand to give perspective and commentary on breaking news. However, it can be hard to break through the clutter.

Reporters want to speak to experts who can credibly and clearly explain the law behind current events, and they have thousands of candidates to choose from. You need to distinguish yourself from the pack in order to score a quote in a top media outlet.

These 6 tips can help an attorney stand out from the crowd.

  1. Anticipate The News

Once Bob Mueller handed down his indictments in October, attorneys with expertise on subjects ranging from white collar defense to federal plea negotiations were clamoring to speak to the media. However, political reporters tell us they had been planning these stories for months, and already had voluminous lists of potential experts ready to contact when the news broke.

Don’t wait until the last minute to formulate a media plan. If you are an expert on tax law, for example, you have known for a while that the Republicans will be proposing legislation this month. Get your name and credentials out there before the bill comes up for vote so reporters can contact you while they are writing about it. If you are reading about it online, you are already too late.

  1. Be an Expert

It’s not enough to have an opinion and an Ivy League degree: you need to be specifically qualified to address the subject in question. Have you published on the subject, or spoken on a panel? Have you been quoted in media on the subject before? By sending members of the press a few links to your publications and news items, you establish yourself quickly as someone who can credibly talk about the subject.

Be specific in your field of expertise. Don’t pitch yourself as an intellectual property lawyer- it’s too general. If the FDA comes down with a decision about the definition of “organic,” a lawyer with a strong background in food and beverage advertising and compliance will be more appealing than a general regulatory attorney.

If you have a firmly established niche practice, you can become the “go-to” lawyer whenever questions about that niche arise. This may not happen as frequently as stories about a broad category like “constitutional law,” for example, but it will vastly reduce your competition.

  1. Tweet – Often and with Purpose

Twitter is no longer just for the tech industry. As everyone from world leaders to local businesses adopt the service, it has increasingly become a useful mouthpiece for professionals across all fields.

Today, users can “tweet” up to 280 characters: double the amount they could when the service began in 2006. However, busy professionals can make the most of their time on Twitter by going beyond just text. Tweets that include links, images, and even video are more effective at catching people’s attention as they scroll through their crowded Twitter feeds.

Here’s an example of a “rich tweet” that embeds an image as well as text. Notice how it takes up more than double the space that a text tweet does. For this reason, tweets that include images receive 150% more user interaction than tweets without. Twitter will resize your images the best it can, but this feature works best with a 16:9 ratio.

Twitter is also an excellent place to interact with journalists as an expert in their industry. Oftentimes, reporters will even request that experts on certain subjects contact them for assistance with an article, so it’s vital to follow the reporters who cover your industry.

If a reporter is writing on a subject on which you feel qualified to comment, follow him or her on Twitter and engage directly. Don’t be reluctant to say, “I’m an expert and I wrote the treatise on this subject. Call me!” On this platform especially, your willingness to connect will be welcomed.

  1. Be Different. Take a Stand.

Reporters need a range of opinions.  If media coverage is speculating that a high profile defendant will be exonerated but you disagree, tell them so! Be forceful and clear with your opinion.

Lawyers tend to hedge: they are skilled at statements which allow for different interpretations. This equivocacy may work in the courtroom but it will not serve you well in media pitches: take a stand and stand by it. Media appreciates a strong and distinctive point of view.

  1. Understand the local angle.

You may be the nation’s foremost expert on energy law, but if the case is taking place in California and you practice in Washington, DC, a reporter will likely prefer to speak to a lawyer on the West Coast. Or a reporter might rather speak to a source located where his paper’s readers reside, even if the case in question is taking place elsewhere.

All news is local, and reporters want to see a nexus between you and the topic on which you want to comment. If there is no geographic connection, you need to draw a clear parallel to your experience:  for example, cite a case where you defended a company on identical charges in similar circumstances.

  1. Respond Quickly.

If you reach out to a reporter and they contact you, do not wait until the end of the day to respond: they will already be on to the next name on their list. Even taking time to wordsmith a carefully crafted statement is too long to delay.

Prepare your comments before you pitch, so you can fire them off immediately if you succeed in piquing their interest.

Media Placement for Attorneys: Be Proactive, Opinionated and Fast

With such heightened media interest in the legal and government process right now, attorneys can provide valuable perspective on the news while at the same time raising their profiles amongst key audiences.

Written by:

Knapp Marketing

Knapp Marketing 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 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:

- 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.