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New Marketing Idea: Become a Trial Groupie

So what if your firm wasn't selected to represent a defendant in a big-time trial? You can still gain benefits by becoming a "trial groupie" -- hanging out at the courthouse, observing the trial (perhaps even live-blogging it at breaks) and getting yourself interviewed as an expert commentator on TV. That's a strategy that worked big time for one law firm, as described in this piece,  Perkins Coie Finds Marketing Opportunity in Conrad Black Trial Commentary, The National Law Journal (6/29/07).

From the article:

Chicago Perkins Coie partner Hugh Totten and one of the firm's public relations specialists, Lori Anger, hatched a plan at the beginning of the criminal fraud trial to see what kind of publicity they could drum up by making Totten available to comment on the case for the 400 registered U.S. and international press personnel covering it. Many of the law firms in town weren't able to comment publicly because they were representing one of the defendants or witnesses in the case.  So, Totten, a litigator specializing in complex civil cases and co-chair of the group's construction and design team, started sitting in on the trial at the federal courthouse, conveniently located across the street from the firm's Chicago office. It's the same kind of trial he typically works, just with a different burden of proof, he said. Mixing with reporters was natural for him given his journalism studies at Purdue University and his former editor position at the college's newspaper.  To say the plan was successful is an understatement. Totten, a former Kirkland & Ellis attorney who has little experience in criminal defense, got comments into newspapers and wire services all over the world, including the Chicago Tribune, the Financial Times of London, the Globe and Mail in Toronto and Bloomberg News.

The goal of Perkins' plan was to help lure new lawyers to the firm's 3-year-old Chicago office. Currently, the office has 70 lawyers, but the firm expects to grow it as large as 200.

Could this strategy work for your firm?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on June 29, 2007 at 05:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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