Expect Your Internal Memo to Get Leaked

by Cheryl on July 15, 2014

When you write a memo for an internal audience you have to assume that it will be leaked. Above the Law has proven this over and over again. The website is known for easily acquiring internal memos which often become the source of its stories, especially the juicy ones. It is naïve, but I assume firms did not expect anyone outside their offices to read. Big mistake.

Reporters cite ‘an internal memo’ as the source of their information and quote directly from them. It happened again yesterday on Above the Law and rebroadcasted again by Law360. Sheppard Mullin’s announced that it offered voluntary buyouts to its California-based secretaries over the age of 65. Law360’s Kurt Orzeck wrote that the memo was sent to all employees via email. In fact, the story never quoted anyone from the firm based on an email or phone interview; the reporter had all of he information he needed from that memo.

Sheppard Mullin had a smart memo www.strategy. I assumed the firm knew the memo would get out, so in preparation the firm provided quotes that a reporter could drop into a story as if the internal memo was a carefully crafted news release. When drafting any internal memo, but especially documents containing sensitive information about attorneys, staff and firm clients, it is important to ask yourself these questions: 1) How will the media react if they get their hands on this information? 2) What are the messages we want to send to the public about this news? 3) If we are not planning to do interviews, what should our quotes say?

Writing a memo isn’t just for the law firm audience. Assume it is going to get leaked because it will.

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Above The Law’s BigLaw Firm Survey

by Cheryl on July 2, 2014

Above The Law just launched what looks like another insignificant survey. The site is asking people to rank a select group of firms based on 1) reputed strength and quality of the firm’s practice and 2) desirability of the firm as a potential employer.

I am sure this is one list that most law firms won’t care if they are on.

Interestingly enough, at a recent Legal Marketing Association program that featured prominent in-house counsel, most of the panelists agreed that rankings don’t matter in their hiring decisions of outside counsel. One of the speakers admitted she doesn’t even look at Chambers when it is published. And, Chambers is considered the top tier of all rankings in the world. Would in-house counsel care about a ranking by Above the Law?

If you are worried about whether a potential lateral or summer associate would make their decisions based on a survey from Above the Law, the question is do most people you want to hire rely on this type of data in making their decisions? Will employers ask if this survey influenced the candidates decision to interview or work at that firm?

I think the only difference between Above The Law and the others that are published annually, is Above The Law is not trying to make money off the results.

Will you fill out the survey?

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Media Training 101: Landon Donovan’s Emotionless Coverage of World Cup Soccer

June 24, 2014

Landon Donovan did not prepare for his role as TV commentator for ESPN as he would have had he actually been playing in the match. And he should have known better. If any of you watched the stone-faced Donovan after the last minute draw in the USA v. Portugal match you know what I mean. [...]

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Everything You Need to Know about Not Doing PR Yourself

June 9, 2014

In an article published on Fast Company’s website, Dave Llorens and Ashley Seashore did the business community a huge disservice by telling entrepreneurs that they can handle their own PR. They can’t and they shouldn’t. Fast Company couldn’t get away with an article written by an in-house counsel called “Why your startup shouldn’t hire a [...]

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Guy Kawaski’s Guide to Using of Social Media to Tell Your Story

May 12, 2014

Guy Kawasaki, entrepreneur and author as well as the chief evangelist of Apple in the late 90’s, recently launched an online class ‘Art of the Start: Turning Ideas into High Growth Business” where he discusses how small businesses can tell their stories on social media.

Richard Feloni at Business Insider published a Q&A today with Kawasaki who talked about [...]

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New California Attorneys Asked to Adopt ’No Jerk’ Pledge

May 5, 2014

Can you imagine the Legal Marketing Association, LFMP or the Public Relations Society of America issuing a notice reminding its members to conduct themselves with ‘dignity, courtesy and integrity?”
It’s how the California Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) is asking new members of the bar to behave.  The CA State Bar supported this too.
At [...]

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A Move to Youth Generates Great PR Results

May 2, 2014

There is a new guard in California at Duane Morris. That was what the firm announced yesterday generating great press and highlighting a growing trend in the legal industry.  Like many trends, firms have to act now to capitalize on the benefits of media attention.    John Soroko, the chairman of Duane Morris said the firm made a conscious [...]

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People Looking for a Lawyer Turn to the Internet First

April 29, 2014

I spend a lot of time educating attorneys about how to make their website bio a tool for selling their services to a client and communicating to reporters why they are a source to be trusted.  Now, a study by FindLaw and Thomson Reuters gives us another reason why lawyers should keep their online profiles [...]

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March Madness: Will You Make it to the Big Dance?

March 28, 2014

Now that the Elite 8 have been determined, here is what the elite PR and marketing professionals are going to get when they attend Ink, Twitter, Smoke and Mirrors during next week’s  Legal Marketing Association conference in Orlando.

The right and wrong way to develop a submission for Chambers
Why are there so many Law360 nominations?
Just what [...]

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Generational Marketing: Avoid the Madness

March 25, 2014

Not understanding the differences between the generations in your law firm is enough to drive any marketer or PR professional mad.   The next post in our March Madness series focuses on generational marketing.   Why should you care about generational marketing?  Heather Morse and Jonathan Fitzgarrald say it impacts the way you interact and communicate [...]

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