Why the Most Powerful Forces in Legal Media Might Be Right Down the Street

January 27, 2020

When you specialize in helping law firms with media relations, you quickly learn that while every attorney would kill to be the subject of a feature in the Wall Street Journal, a media win like that is a once-in-a-career unicorn. If it happens, you thank your lucky stars, but you can’t build a publicity plan around it.

In every local market, however, there is an influential outlet law firms care a lot about and may also take for granted. In Philadelphia it’s the Legal Intelligencer. In Florida, it’s the Daily Business Journal. And here in Chicago we have our touchpoint for the legal community, the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. While other publications have come and gone, the Law Bulletin has been a staple of the Chicago legal scene since 1854 (!!) and is valued for its in-depth coverage of legal news, pending legislation, changes in case law, trends in the marketplace and law firm events, promotions and mergers. What is it about this publication — still hand-delivered to subscribers in Chicago — that makes it so influential?

  • The Law Bulletin is deeply embedded in the Chicago legal community and carries institutional knowledge of the history of its most important firms, large and small. They devote time and attention to what matters most to lawyers in their daily work lives, and that has created a sense of community that no national publication can match.
  • In an era where the “mainstream media” (whatever that means) struggles to maintain trust in the face of criticism, from both the left and the right, a local outlet like the Law Bulletin is viewed as deeply credible by people from all corners of the legal industry. The 40 under 40 list, for example, is a local institution, and earning a spot on the list is worth its weight in gold.
  • Being visible in the local media builds a firm’s credibility with the local legal community, and that is where most lateral recruits and referral business come from.
  • And local reporters grow up and get promoted! Roy Strom started his career at the Law Bulletin, moved on to ALM and is now at Bloomberg. Dave Thomas recently moved from the Law Bulletin to ALM, and Lauraann Wood moved from the Law Bulletin to Law 360. Where will today’s Law Bulletin reporters end up? Wherever they go, their national coverage will be informed by the relationships they built when they were local Chicago legal reporters.

So give your local legal media its due. Don’t sleep on the Law Bulletin!