Messaging and Management Lessons for Lawyers and Communicators

While good communication might seem like a given in the legal industry since lawyers depend on the written word for everything from memorandums to motions, many overlook effective communication strategies to the detriment of their practice. There are also many skills that communicators can learn from law professionals when perfecting their craft. Both professions rely on strategic messaging and rhetoric so it should be no surprise that each would benefit from learning a few of the other’s practices.

Lessons for Communicators

Although lawyers tend to use technical legal jargon and communicators have their own collection of corporate catchphrases, there is overlap in how a message is developed and delivered. Instead of focusing on what is being said, we can find the most value in how it is being executed. Marketing professionals can turn to the four strategies lawyers regularly use to reach and engage their target audience in any industry.

1. Persuasion and Negotiation

One of the most important skills lawyers rely on in and out of the courtroom is the art of persuasion and negotiation. Knowing what to say and when to say it to achieve a target outcome is key for winning cases and earned media opportunities. Both lawyers and marketers are ultimately selling ideas that needed to be framed in right way at the right time. Communications professionals simply do it through media pitches and paid advertising.

2. Risk Management

Lawyers are required to identify and mitigate legal risks for their clients. Similarly, marketers can learn to anticipate and address potential fallout from an announcement or spokesperson comment before the situation gets out of hand. Having an analytics-informed crisis response strategy in place is key to staying one step ahead of negative press or inflammatory social media activity.

3. Ethical Considerations

Attorneys must adhere to strict ethical guidelines and codes of conduct. Marketers should also strive to remain honest, transparent and respectful of privacy when developing messaging, paid media strategies and any other form of external communications. The rise of generative AI and ChatGPT has made it more important than ever for companies and communicators to have guidelines in place.

4. Attention to Detail

Lawyers are trained to pay close attention to every detail, ensuring accuracy and thoroughness in their work. Marketing professionals must likewise ensure that their campaigns, messaging and materials are meticulously crafted to avoid errors and misinterpretations. The devil is in the details, as they say, and losing track of even the little ones can be costly for a company’s reputation or brand.

Lessons for Lawyers

The type of communication taught in law school focuses on presenting arguments and mastering persuasion, but there is much more to effective communication in the courtroom and in the office than that. Below are three tips from the world of marketing communications that attorneys can leverage.

1. Communicate Clearly and Elaborate Terms

As a rule of thumb, overcommunication is key. Going above and beyond to ensure that a client truly understands the legal strategy and the role they play in it will make getting their support much easier. Clear communication ensures that everybody involved is aware of what they are supposed to be doing, which can lead to better results.

2. Polish Client Management Skills

Strong client management skills enhance an attorney’s ability to litigate effectively and build trust while managing expectations and putting everyone in the best position for a win. The best client managers take the time to learn about their clients as people and understand what motivates them or keeps them up at night. Once you have a grasp on the context in which your client is operating, you can better serve them and achieve the outcomes you both want.

By recognizing the value of effective communication strategies, professionals in marketing and law can elevate their skill sets and enhance their ability to achieve desired outcomes for their clients. As both professions navigate complex industries, these lessons not only bridge the gap between attorneys and communicators, but also foster a collaborative environment where shared expertise leads to greater success for all.

By Ariana Benavidez

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