CLOSEClose Law.com Menu
 
X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
“It’s hard for attorneys to make the transition,” says Leah Guggenheimer of the tricky business of switching from associate to law firm marketing and public relations. “For one thing, you see a lot of ‘J.D.s need not apply’ in the ads.” Even so, Guggenheimer, 34, managed to leave behind her six years as a litigator last May to become director of marketing and business development at New York-based Darby & Darby, an intellectual property boutique. A big part of her new job involves the politesse of helpfully placing herself between the 85 lawyers of her firm and nosy reporters. Luckily for Guggenheimer, there is a new network of law firm administrators just like her, people who are often the only ones who do what they do at their respective firms. “I joined right away,” said Guggenheimer, “to learn more about my public relations responsibilities.” The network, which was recently given the official name “Law Firm Media Professionals,” is the brainchild of two former journalists: Joshua Peck, 45, director of media relations at Chicago-based Kirkland & Ellis, and Dara McQuillan, 29, communications and media manager at New York-based Shearman & Sterling. Peck, who was a reporter in Westchester County and Ann Arbor, Mich., and who also worked as a political press secretary, says the job of law firm spokesperson is a “relatively new profession” that has many of its practitioners asking a host of questions. Thus, the network he and McQuillan created. Just how large the group will become is anybody’s guess, says Peck. Twelve persons showed up for an inaugural session this summer, which grew to 30 during last month’s meeting. Peck estimates there may be as many as 40 full-time law firm spokespersons in the city. Other lawyers-cum-spokespersons who have signed on include Jim Ponichtera at New York-based Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, and Maziel Abrego with the New York office of the Argentinian firm Alfaro-Abogados. Meetings are rather informal, McQuillan said, and modeled after a similarly loose series of get-togethers he attended during his Los Angeles days as a story editor at Universal Pictures, a gig that followed his reportorial duties at Variety, the film and television industry journal. “Once a month, we’d get together at Madame Wu’s [a restaurant] in Santa Monica,” said McQuillan. “Without giving away trade secrets, we’d discuss what was going on and we’d help each other. “In the legal media field, we deal with the same reporters, the same issues, and we have the same challenges.” The challenges, says Peck, involve educating lawyers about reporters. “I tell them, never argue with anybody who buys ink by the 500-gallon drum,” said Peck. “And there are a number of ways of reacting to an unfavorable story. All of them involve congeniality.” Lawyers can easily afford congeniality, as they tend to earn higher salaries than reporters. Lawyer spokespersons are known to be easygoing as well, perhaps due to annual salaries ranging from about $60,000 to as much as $200,000. Still, in private, law firm media relations people have their gripes. “We need to get together for tips and techniques and contacts,” said Guggenheimer. “And to vent.” The next meeting is Sept. 30.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.