screens 2Pitching stories for our legal clients in the days following January 20th, one fact is abundantly clear: like everything else since the inauguration of the new US president, public relations has changed dramatically.

The news cycle, already accelerated with the advent of social media and 24 hour news, has sped up exponentially. As we raced to pitch our clients to comment on the Affordable Care Act, suddenly immigration experts were in demand to comm
ent on the travel ban. In the midst of pitching them, the focus spun to upheavals at government agencies.  Within hours, that was old news, and everyone was on the Supreme Court appointment. How is a PR professional to keep up?

Additionally, stories that one month ago would have caught the eye of mainstream publications are now pushed to the back burner. There is less time for trend stories, thoughtful analysis or scholarly commentary when executive orders and Tweets come fast and furious. Our clients are now competing for media space with the President of the United States.

Donald Trump’s self-proclaimed war on the media adds to the chaos. When respected outlets like The New York Times and CNN come under attack, reporters are suddenly on the defensive and are forced to further engage in the fray to justify their coverage. Our friends in newsrooms across the country, already demoralized by dwindling budgets and audiences, sound beleaguered by the constant drumbeat accusing them of fake news and alternative facts.

We are starting to see the chilling effect – not only upon the media itself but on our clients in the legal industry. With uncertainty over where the administration may choose to retaliate, spokespersons may hesitate to compromise their clients’ interests by publicly commenting on a growing number of inflammatory stories in the news.

Even PR professionals, accustomed as we are to being called hacks and hired guns, are suddenly facing a looking glass world where the old rules encouraging honesty and integrity no longer apply.  Where we once forged relationships with the press based on offering timely reliable sources and stories, talking heads are spouting outrageous spin, negating our efforts to maintain best practices in our industry.

Now more than ever, media professionals must hold fast to the ethical code which until recently was revered within the industry: a commitment to evidence-based analysis, robust debate and objective truths. Effective communication efforts are rooted in basic integrity: whether we are speaking to our clients or the press, or crafting messaging aimed at specific audiences, true credibility and effectiveness come not from dazzling wordsmithing and spin but from underlying honesty.



6 Tips for Improving Your Chambers Submissions in 2017: How to Streamline Internal Processes for More Productive Results

January 26, 2017

Now that Chambers submissions have been completed, you can relax, right? Actually, now is the ideal time to conduct an internal post mortem to see how you can improve your in-house processes in 2017 to ensure better Chambers results. If you want to avoid the last minute Chambers scramble this year, take a frank look […]

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Best Practices for a Law Firm Social Media Policy

November 18, 2016

This article originally appeared on ILTA’s (International Legal Technology Association) blog. Every organization in today’s world should have a social media policy, and that includes law firms. Surprisingly, though, not all do. Lawyers and law firms have particular concerns, given bar rules and obligations to the court and clients. Social media activity has a direct bearing […]

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New to Chambers? 6 Ways to Streamline the Process AND Improve Results

October 13, 2016

It’s that time of year again! Submission dates for various practice areas and states for Chambers USA are due in the Fall, and Knapp Marketing gets many inquiries from law firms asking for guidance in the process. For firms new to the Chambers process, we help not only with the submission itself but with creating […]

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Stake Your Claim: Creating a Niche Legal Practice

September 14, 2016

This article, co-authored by Amy Knapp and Tammy Mangan, originally appeared in The Legal Marketing Association (LMA)’s Strategies Magazine. Stake Your Claim Like the business pioneers before them, lawyers can benefit from finding new ground of their own.   If you are particularly interested in this issue’s theme, it is likely because you are responsible for helping attorneys with […]

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Chambers Referees: Valuable for More than Just Rankings

June 16, 2016

While Chambers submissions may seem like a time drain of epic proportions, direct positive benefits can be gained in the process far beyond the ultimate rankings themselves.  Asking clients and colleagues to act as references on your behalf is more than just asking a favor that will help you gain recognition in this esteemed publication […]

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How to Align Your Real Life and Online Brands [Infographic]

May 24, 2016

In our recent article, “Focus to Grow: A Winning Practice Strategy for a Digital Age” (available on this blog and here at ABA Law Practice Today), we encourage attorneys to “engage in a purposeful and coordinated content marketing strategy that delivers the same messaging across traditional and digital mediums”. Pretty good advice, right? But wait, […]

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Focus to Grow: A Winning Practice Strategy for a Digital Age

May 5, 2016

This article was co-authored by Amy Knapp and Ezra Crawford and originally appeared on the American Bar Association’s Law Practice Management blog. Lawyers often tell us they have limited time to devote to marketing and business development and want to know the most effective way to maximize their time. Without hesitation, our response is “specialize!” (Actually, […]

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Chambers USA: 4 Changes for This Year’s Submissions

April 28, 2016

It’s that time of year all legal marketers love to hate: Chambers season!  Editor, Laura Mills recently released three changes to the usual submission process, which we recap here.  In addition, we’ve added a few pointers for a less painful Chambers season. 1)  Updated schedule and the addition of several state and national categories Most […]

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3 Simple Tools to Help Optimize Your Law Firm’s Website in 2016

April 26, 2016

Creating a great website that speaks to your audience, is easy to use, and encourages interaction with your brand is no small feat. However, many companies and law firms may not realize that it’s only half the battle due to shifting Google search optimization guidelines and the continued migration from desktop to smaller devices. I liken […]

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