Law firm media relations & communications

March 26, 2010

Legal ‘speed dating,’ or why not all publicity is good publicity

Filed under: Media coverage — John Tuerck @ 3:49 pm

Toyota’s purported problem with the sudden acceleration of several of its models has been a PR debacle for the company. To some extent, this is a self-inflicted wound, as the Japanese automaker was slow to respond to the building crisis and only grudgingly addressed the issue months after it surfaced.

At the same time, the lawyers lining up to represent prospective plaintiffs in litigation against the company hardly bathed themselves in glory in today’s Wall Street Journal. In “Lawyers Play Speed-Date in Toyota Suit Tussle,” writer Dionne Searcey paints an unflattering portrait of plaintiffs’ lawyers jockeying before a panel of federal judges in San Diego for the sake of consolidating the various suits in their preferred venue — all to put themselves in the best position to reap the anticipated attorneys’ fees generated by the complex litigation. A Los Angeles lawyer cited in the story compared the scene to the “floor of the New York Stock Exchange.”

Toyota has only recently righted the ship in the PR battle to repair its tarnished image. Stories of fee-seeking plaintiffs’ lawyers bellying up to the bar will only help the beleaguered automaker, which goes to show that for lawyers involved in high-profile  litigation, silence can be golden.

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March 24, 2010

The health care law: A PR bonanza for lawyers?

Filed under: Media coverage — John Tuerck @ 9:35 am

Setting aside the merits of the new health care regime, there’s no debating the opportunity to obtain terrific visibility for many lawyers and law firms. It’s not just attorneys advising health care providers and hospitals who have an unprecedented occasion to showcase their expertise. Also benefiting are attorneys who practice in other areas affected by the bill — e.g., employee benefits, labor, ERISA, and insurance, among many others. Take just one example: As the Heritage Foundation explains, under one new rule in the House reconciliation bill, “companies with 50 or more workers that do not offer a ‘qualified’ health plan or pay 60 percent of health insurance premiums would face an annual tax penalty of $2,000 per full-time worker.” Given the broad reach of the new rule, there is a vast audience — companies and employees alike — with an immediate interest in exactly how the new rule works, and how it affects them. That’s just one opportunity, and with 153 pages in the House reconciliation bill, there are dozens of others for lawyers and law firms looking for a bit of visibility.

March 15, 2010

Apple v. Google

Filed under: Media coverage — John Tuerck @ 8:45 pm

The impending battle of tech titans, as covered in Sunday’s New York Times, offers an ideal opportunity to garner visibility for IP practices at leading law firms. As described in the article, erstwhile business partners Google and Apple are edging towards open conflict over cellphones. Why is this an opportunity for IP practitioners? Because the battle will be on the patent front, and the reporters covering it will need help in translating the action for readers. The Times and the Wall Street Journal drive coverage by other media, and Sunday’s article is the opening salvo in what promises to be a promising opportunity for PR pros at law firms.

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