I'm a fairly low-key attorney, and I don't like to boast when I've won a case. Other lawyers in my area have accomplished a lot less, but puff themselves up with press releases, to the point where they're being quoted in newspaper stories and I'm not. What can I do?

Effective law firm marketing can include self-promotion.

Here, you have two choices. You can continue to hold onto your dignity, and refuse to issue a press release whenever you've scored a “win” on behalf of your clients. Or you can hold your nose, get in front of your computer, and start drafting releases that will make you—and not your competitors—the “go-to” expert when local reporters need a quote for a newspaper article.

The bottom line is that your competitors’ public relations strategy is working. Sure, they may be puffing themselves up, and overstating their accomplishments, and indulging in bouts of self-aggrandization, but they're also getting some very valuable coverage. Every time one of these lawyer's names appears in a news story, that amounts to free advertising—and also an implied endorsement by the newspaper, because the average reader will think, “Gee, they wouldn't quote that guy if he didn't know what he's talking about.” The result is that this lawyer will get more inquiries from prospective clients, and your phone will be silent.

Multiply this trend by a few years, and you may be out of business entirely!

A well-crafted press release doesn't have to be dishonest, unethical, or exaggerated—just state the facts (you won X amount in this lawsuit, using this specific strategy, etc.) and let the chips fall where they may. In the worst case, your press release will be ignored or buried underneath a pile of other documents—but in the best case, a reporter will email you or call your number and wind up quoting you in his story.

Ben Glass
Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.