Rich Klein, president of LawFirmsPR, told the Bergen County (NJ) Bar Association on May 13 that a decision in the court of public opinion can often be more important than a trial decision.
Klein gave the group a series of PR tips including never say "no comment" and always assume you're on the record.
He also urged attorneys to embrace "thought leadership" through social and traditional media and noted defense attorneys today are doing a better job of presenting their case in the media than in the past.
"The average consumer of legal services doesn't fully understand everything that you people do," he said. Pieces on court decisions or new regulations are examples of articles attorneys can write to present themselves as legal leaders.
Among a series of tips he offers:
Don't use "legalese."
Don't use acronyms.
Never say "no comment."
Assume any conversation with a reporter is on the record.
Always return a reporter's phone call. "If it's something you can't talk about because of attorney-client priviledge, tell them that," he said.