There was an interesting piece in the Financial Times recently about law firms launching wellbeing programmes. At the start of our media training courses for law firms, we usually look at what makes a media story and what interests journalists. This helps build confidence as participants know the nature of the beast that they’re dealing with. It also helps with that all-important preparation piece as lawyers and others know what to focus on when preparing for a media interview.
So we thought that it might be interesting to deconstruct this story.
The first paragraph talks about “a boom in deals activity [is stoking] a war for talent,” and this ticks the “topical” box in our newsworthiness acronym. The war for talent also points to the human aspect that every story, even about business or technology, needs to include.
As journalists, we need examples to back up a trend, and so the writer includes references to Baker McKenzie and Ashurst. Another piece of evidence is a survey that offers some statistics. As we say during our media training courses for lawyers and others, to cover an issue, a journalist will need three things – facts, science or the law. Second, we’re looking for some comment and analysis – why should we care? What should we think about this? What do you need to do as a result of receiving this information? Third, we need a case study or an example to show what this means in practice.
We then have several examples and case studies in this piece. During our media coaching for lawyers, we look at how interviewees can introduce these all-important elements of a good interview without compromising client confidentiality.
The reference to a shortage of talent and the problems that this creates introduces that element of trouble, risk or threat that grabs the audience’s attention. Again, we look at how lawyers – risk-averse as they are – can use this to their advantage during their media interviews.
How We Relate
Any article needs punchy quotes. The lawyers we train and their PR and comms people will often mention interviews that they’ve done with journalists or quotes that they’ve provided by email, which, infuriatingly, haven’t been used. We’ll explore why these comments didn’t make the cut and, more importantly, we reveal what does make a good lawyer’s quote for a journalist and how our course participants can say something that will be picked up.
This piece features a comment from Elizabeth Rimmer, chief executive of LawCare, legal, mental health charity LawCare published in September – topical again, of course.
Rimmer says: “We need to address the big elephants in the legal, mental wellbeing room, the ingrained culture of long hours, lack of management support and the poor boundaries between work and home, and until we do, not much is going to change.” It’s a great quote – it contains an exciting metaphor, some colourful language, and a challenge to the audience.
Getting coverage in the Financial Times is the aim of many law firms that we provide media training for. Ticking the boxes above can help to achieve this.
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