What Makes an Attorney a Good Source for the Media?

May 24 2021

Pitching attorneys to the media as subject matter experts is an effective way to bring exposure to a particular law firm or practice. While pitch topics may not always be law-focused, partners can still bring a unique perspective to the media landscape while highlighting their expertise. However, depending on the size of the law firm, picking a partner to pitch to well-known media outlets can be a tricky task. Here are some things to keep in mind when considering who to source:

Evaluate Expertise

The most important thing to consider when determining a pitch source is how well they can blend their expertise with the pitch topic. Journalists are looking for subject matter experts who can add color to their stories by adding their analysis on the topic. Law firms – especially those with numerous practice groups – have a broad range of expertise that could be tapped, so it’s important that media relations professionals are strategic in their selections. Sometimes, there may be more than one attorney with the right expertise for your pitch. How do you determine who will be the better candidate? Consider previous media experience and availability.

Consider Previous Media Experience and Availability

Depending on the subject matter of your pitch, consider which partners have prior media training. Not everyone feels comfortable being interviewed or understands how to provide reporters with sound bites, which is why they may require a bit of preparation. Those who have experience being interviewed may be more receptive to future opportunities. That’s not to say partners with less experience shouldn’t be considered; to represent the firm as a whole, it is important to account for those who should earn more media exposure as well. While not every partner will accept every media offer, providing opportunities to a range of partners with varying media experience has the potential to garner greater exposure for the firm. 

You should also consider which attorneys can make themselves available for media opportunities. As communications professionals, we understand that our law firm clients are servicing their own clients and cannot always be available for media opportunities. However, reporters are typically working on deadline and often can’t wait more than a few hours for an interview. If a partner isn’t the most responsive, you may need to try someone else.

Consult the Client

A helpful way to discern which partners to select for a pitch is to periodically check in with your client contact at the firm. Developing a strong strategic media relations plan can help identify partners for certain topical areas or attorneys who have expressed interest in media exposure. Similarly, the firm may also be looking to garner coverage for a particular practice area or industry. Ultimately, staying in touch with your clients is necessary for normal business operations, but it may also help you determine reliable experts. 

While a firm may present numerous partners to consider for a pitch, finding the right source increases the chance of media engagement. Considering a partner’s experience in addition to a law firm’s requests helps narrow down the options and provide a unique opportunity for clients.

This blog post first appeared in the blog series of Buchanan Public Relations, PRGN’s member agency in Philadelphia. 

Anne Buchanan
President, Buchanan Public Relations
Anne Buchanan founded Buchanan Public Relations in 1998, applying a diverse background in strategic communications that included leadership positions in agency, corporate, government and media environments. Her particular strengths are strategy, crisis communications and social media. Anne is a founding member of PRGN and served as President of the network from 2006 – 2007 and remains on the organization’s Executive Committee. She is also active in the Philadelphia Public Relations Association and has been a member of the board of directors at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia.