Turn research and results into story topics
By Geri L. Dreiling
When a lawyer gets a great result, devises a winning strategy, tackles an old issue with a 21st-century twist or develops an approach that helps avoid a legal minefield, the client benefits.
A rainmaking lawyer will also recognize that those successes represent an opportunity to promote his or her practice. The attorney who uses the experience as inspiration for a guest article has a chance to attract additional clients, to grab the attention of lawyers with cases to refer and to improve the practice of law.
The work can be leveraged. If the author retains copyright to the content, the article can not only be featured in a print publication but can also serve as fresh content for the law firm’s Web site, be incorporated into a firm newsletter or be rolled into a continuing legal education handout.
In this article we’ll explore the reasons lawyers should publish, where to find story ideas and how to go about getting items in print.
Guest articles showcase expertise
A philosophical riddle asks: “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Most people agree that a sound is made but that it goes unperceived.
Similarly, when a lawyer develops a winning strategy or comes up with a fresh approach to an old issue, generally only the people actually involved in the case are aware of the work. Write an article recounting the experience and broaden your audience.
In addition to amplification, an article is online content. Some law firms have spent thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars on Web sites — but a Web site is not meant to be a monument. Rather, it’s a way to communicate. Post the article on the site as a way to keep clients updated. As an added benefit, Internet search engines, which are always on the hunt for fresh content, will soak up the information.
An article benefits both the lawyer and the legal profession. It represents a chance to showcase the author’s expertise and reinforce his or her credibility. It is also a way to contribute to the legal thought and analysis in a particular area of law. An article can help educate young attorneys and the not-so-young lawyer who doesn’t specialize in the area being discussed. Even lawyers who are considered experts in a given practice area never stop searching for ways to improve. Finally, a well-written piece has the potential to influence public opinion and affect the way in which justice is administered. In sharing insights and experiences, a lawyer has another opportunity to make a difference.
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