Getting Published: The Foundation For Business Development
Business development in the legal
community is a science, but it requires
the creativity of an artist. That artistry can
be demonstrated most powerfully
through the written word, a tool of great
lawyers for centuries. Encapsulating an
interesting case or complex transaction
into 500 or 1000 words for the benefit of
colleagues and the business community
at large is the single best way to demonstrate
expertise on a macro scale. It is at
the very core of client generation.
A published article is like currency
for building a network, developing a
reputation for excellence, and gaining
exposure to unanticipated opportunities.
It sets the foundation for
success in the law, professionally and
personally, by reminding you of the
most satisfying aspects of the work
and conveying that satisfaction in a
Despite late night feelings to the
contrary, lawyers focus on fascinating
issues. Those that can distance themselves
from an individual matter and
select a fine point that is particularly
engaging can easily create the premise
of a well-received article. For those
that cannot, great ideas are only a
mouse click away. Technolo-gy
lawyers, for example, can find them
on Gigalaw.com, consumer protection
attorneys can visit FTC.gov and there
are many others. With no shortage of
resources, the only hindrance to great
commentary is one’s imagination.
Perhaps the most overlooked, but
incredibly valuable, brainstorming
opportunities come from colleagues
and clients. Not only does communication
about story ideas give one the
chance to develop a deeper relationship
with another attorney or contact,
it makes the process much more
enjoyable. Writing is, after all, a creative
pursuit that carries with it the
added benefit of personal satisfaction.
Notoriety just happens to be the
great reward for your effort.
Finding the right home for that effort
can be a challenge. While it is exciting
for a popular magazine or newspaper
to print your ideas, there may be more
valuable publications that reach your
target audience. As such, consider who
makes up that population and compile
a list of the periodicals that they read.
Then narrow down that list to those that
cover the subject matter over which you
are an authority (or are attempting to
demonstrate your knowledge).
While legal publications are often the
first considered for placement, do not
feel limited to bar association magazines
and law-related newspapers.
Instead, research possible homes for
your work on Google or FindLaw. If
you are drafting an article on marketing,
for example, it may be that a narrowly
tailored newsletter aimed at music professionals
offers you much greater
exposure to your potential client base
than a column in Rolling Stone.
For promotional purposes, it should
not matter whether the publication
offers you exposure in print or solely
online because you will most likely be
distributing your article to your network
via e-mail. In fact, those that appear
online either alone or in addition to
print will offer greater visibility because
search engines will associate your name
with the topic on which you wrote for
eternity. This will make existing and
prospective clients, as well as media
professionals looking for an authority in
the area, more likely to find you.
PITCHING AN ARTICLE
When pitching an article, describe
what you would like to write, who
you are and why you are ideally suited
to author this piece. Be brief, but
potent. Bear in mind that one of the
most critical facts to convey to an editor
is what makes your topic relevant.
If there is no time-hook for your
story, it is unlikely to be selected.
If possible, attach writing samples
to your pitch. If you do not have
clips, there are always opportunities
to obtain some by penning a book
review or an editorial for a local or
regional journal. In addition, consider
co-authoring with another attorney or
professional connection whose skill
you respect. It is an ideal opportunity
to collaborate on a non-work-related
project, but in an inventive specialized
context. Activities like this
one also lead to new and unexpected
opportunities such as client referrals,
new billable work and even friendships
that transcend the law.
The law should, however, always
remain central to the process, especially
since your priority is to your firm.
Your message and tone should be consistent
and maintain dedication to a
single formula: exposure enhances
your reputation and as that reputation
grows so too do your prospects for
developing business. That is the science.
The art is distinguishing yourself
with a unique voice and style.
About The Author
Ari Kaplan is the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Editor of Dulcinea Media, LLC, a start-up Internet publishing company in New York City. He is also a columnist for Law.com and a member of the Board of Editors for American Lawyer Media's Marketing the Law Firm. Ari is currently writing a book on creative marketing for lawyers, which will be published by Thompson-West and is set for release in the fall of 2007. In connection with the book and as the principal of Ari Kaplan Advisors, he teaches a popular CLE course on the mechanics of getting published. Hired by the largest firms in the country, including Shearman & Sterling and Akin Gump, he is becoming a nationally recognized speaker. Ari practiced in New York City for 9 years with both McDermott, Will & Emery LLP and Graham & James LLP. Admitted in New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., he earned his J.D. from George Washington University Law School and his B.A., magna cum laude, from Boston University. While balancing a legal career, Ari published over 100 articles in legal and non-legal magazines and newspapers based in the United States and the United Kingdom. He also produced two independent films, served as a legal commentator for CNET Radio, hosted a public access cable television show in Manhattan, taught Internet Law at Baruch College and was interviewed on CNN in connection with the implications of digital downloading
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.
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