Developing relationships with reporters and editors is an excellent objective for lawyer-marketers. Your purpose is obvious. By getting to know media contacts (general, business and legal), they may call you when they need a lawyer’s perspective. They will appreciate it also, because they are always looking for good sources of information, particularly when they are covering a case or on deadline with the latest, hottest breaking news. They won’t think of calling you unless they know who you are.

Some suggestions and cautions:

  • Return reporter’s call immediately, if not sooner;
  • Don’t assume anything you say is on background or “off the record”, unless you and reporter agree in advance;
  • If you don’t have an immediate answer, tell them you will get back to them and do so asap (remember about deadlines);
  • Ask when is their deadline (weeklies are more flexible than dailies);
  • Don’t reveal client confidences; and
  • Don’t talk about a client’s matter without their permission, even if it is a matter of public record (clients can get ornery about such things).

So, take the time to get to know your local media – broadcast (radio, TV) and print (daily, weekly or monthly newspapers and magazines). By developing a friendship with reporters and editors, they are more likely to call you when they need a legal angle on a story. Especially when you get a reputation for getting back to them promptly, and respect the pressures they are under. Some reporters prefer breakfast to lunch, but you won’t know that until you call them.

  • This is a terrific idea, and I’ve been thinking about doing this. However, I have a couple questions.
    1. How do I choose a reporter? (I live in Los Angeles, so the options are endless.)
    2. How do I go about asking someone (who I’ve never met or spoken with) to lunch?

  • Angie,
    1. Since you have a criminal defense practice, make a list of the reporters that cover crimes, police beat, etc. Wouldn’t restrict to LA Times, but local (and neighborhood) papers in the area(s) of your practice. I’d even start with the local papers.
    2. Simply call them up – introduce yourself – and tell them you would like to sit down with them to discuss the typical stories they cover – and offer to do so over lunch. They love lunch.
    Best of luck,