But location still counts when it comes to PR.
Even though lawyers are still more inclined than those in other professions to stick with traditional office arrangements and face-to-face meetings, younger up-and-coming lawyers don’t come into the office nearly as much as they used to. In 2015, The Atlantic noted an increase in virtual law firms and attorneys working from home because this model appeals to people who want a better work-life balance. A recent 2018 survey of mid-level associates in Big Law found that the biggest factor for an associate considering leaving their current firm was work-life balance. When asked what work-life issues were most important, they responded with the ability to work remotely, and flexible scheduling policies.
This increase in attorneys working remotely has eliminated face time and has made it much harder to do things like mentoring young associates, cross-pollinating, and cross-selling. But a less-discussed problem caused by remote work is the trouble this creates for in-house marketing professionals. It’s harder to know what attorneys are working on, and in turn harder to support them in promoting their practice, when there is no chance of bumping into each other in the elevator to catch up. This is particularly true in large firms with offices in multiple locations.
Firms are much more inclined to open smaller offices without any administrative infrastructure, which often means no local in-house marketing personnel. As an in-house marketing person in another city, are you going to attempt connecting with attorneys via phone meetings? Flying to meet them in other cities? The time investment required for this is extremely difficult.
A better answer is to work with a skilled legal PR firm with ties to the local market and media. At Page 2, we meet in person with our legal clients and talk about their work and their vision for building their practice. This allows us to craft a media strategy that is tailored to these goals and to the opportunities available in the Chicago market. For most things, location doesn’t matter, but for marketing and PR, it really does.
Technology has yet to fully replace the impact of face-to-face interaction. Make that work to your advantage by getting the right PR team in the right place to help your lawyers shine.