PR is still a mystery to many law firms, perhaps interested in what PR can do but unsure because it is seen as hard to measure, is wishy washy or they have not considered it because they do not have the information to make a judgement. With this in mind I have written this legal PR case study (well effective PR techniques in a legal setting) to show how public relations works:
Lane-Smith & Shindler, specialist private client wills, trust & probate solicitors
Malcolm McLaren and the issue of wills and probate outside the UK
This technique uses current news and issues to gain coverage for clients, it represents about a day’s work:
Malcolm McLaren passed away leaving a contested will. His son challenged the will on the basis of legal jurisdiction (it was drawn up in Switzerland) as well McLaren’s mental state and his failure to make reasonable financial provision for him under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
A small piece was spotted about this in The Times, a few short paragraphs that were easy to miss. It was used then as a way to broach the subject, owing to its topicality, to journalists in the following newspapers and magazines:
Expat Money Channel
Wealth Briefing for high networth individuals (you will need to register to view)
A Place in the Sun (companion title to popular TV series)
Swiss Lump Sum Tax – online and offline covered
Lane-Smith & Shindler had a Zurich based office and were keen to warn high networth individuals looking to move to Switzerland to take advantage of the Swiss Lump Sum Tax that they should be aware of the less generous tax regime that was coming in the following year.
While it was key to tell hard copy press, it was also key to dominate online searches.
Around the end of 2010 careful targeting of media ensured that anyone looking for information on the Swiss Lump Sum Tax on Google could not fail to notice that nearly half of the sites listed for the first two pages originated material from Law-Smith & Shindler. (The position has changed over 12 months, so it is important to keep good content flowing if you want to maintain position).
Moreover the Lane-Smith & Shindler blog and Artisan blog ensured that a presence was maintained to complement the online wealth magazines.
Magazines such as Investor Today and Wealth Briefing ran the press releases online, the latter using an in-depth article with links to the Lane-Smith & Shindler blog to help ranking status.
The value of these initiatives easily runs into thousands of pounds (for the advertising costs of gaining the coverage).
They are both about a day’s PR work.
The contract with Lane-Smith & Shindler came to an end owing to a merger with DWF and hence the in-house marketing department of DWF took over the PR.
The firm was very happy with the work and results and gave this testimonial:
“Rob has really helped our PR effort and clearly knows a lot of the right people in publishing. Unlike other firms we have used in the past he makes most of the running himself rather than expecting us to do the work.”
Paul Davies partner at Lane-Smith & Shindler