Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and mid-sized law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many people feel like work and family don’t mix well. However, it seems to me like work and family actually overlap in some areas and coincidentally coincide with aspects of public relations. The word “public” means “people,” which means people in your firm (attorneys, associates, partners, paralegals) are just as important as those outside of it (reporters, clients, prospects). Good public relations on the inside will create good public relations on the outside. Just consider the following:
Family Knows Best. Attorneys and paralegals know a lot about the firm they work for, definitely more than the outside public. This makes employees almost like walking press releases but better because they can interact with the media and potential clients and be actively involved in marketing operations. Encourage everyone in the firm to “think PR” and turn employees into company advocates.
Families Stick Together. An open, deal-with-problems-directly policy should be applied in the office, especially when difficult economic times make business unstable. Now more than ever, firms need the support of a dedicated workforce. Firms also need to make sure that employees, as a group or individually, can express their concerns and know their concerns are being heard and addressed. During tough times, the public will question internal relations, so keeping employees together and motivated will make your firm look very good.
Support Your Family. Successes in the firm should be rewarded and made company news. Recognize individual accomplishments and applaud notable group progress. And don’t forget to make these announcements in local legal publications and let the world know how well your firm is doing. This encourages the entire office to work hard and support one another in all efforts. Good business and good reputation always result from good employment.