Media strategist picks up where law schools fall short

By John Breslin | Apr 20, 2018

Law school teaches future attorneys many things about the law, but they don't teach how to market their firm or interact with the media.

ST. LOUIS - Law school teaches future attorneys many things about the law, but they don't teach how to market their firm or interact with the media.

Jim Grandone, a media strategist based in Edwardsville, Illinois, has fronted the first of what will be a series of videos aimed at educating lawyers on how to deal with the media and develop their businesses.

Grandone, of Grandone Media Strategies, has partnered with the West LegalEd Center, a subsidiary of media and information giant Thompson Reuters,  to produce and distribute the videos.

The first, focusing on media training, was posted on the West LegalEd Center last week. Others will follow, Grandone told the St. Louis Record, with the next few expected to take a deeper dive into the same topic -- dealing with the media.

Jim Grandone  

Grandone developed the idea of a video series from about 15 articles published in the Madison County Record, a sister publication of the St. Louis Record.

He advises that lawyers, when approached by a journalist, should not shoot back with a brusque "no comment." They can always comment on what is in the public record, he said.

Grandone expects to cover other subjects, including how to develop advertising, who to target and what to say.

He cites the example of one client who was spending $1 million a year on television spots, but was not getting the bang for his buck.

"It was like a presidential campaign," Grandone said. "It was a case of everyone knows your name, but they do not know what you do."

The advertisements touted his abilities as a personal injury attorney, but most people have no idea what that really means, Grandone said.

"They think falling off a ladder,  but may not know it includes asbestos, or truck driver and others injured on the job," he said.

Grandone helped the client break down what he specialized in and put it in layman's terms. He saved a fortune, he added.

"You have to be more clear about what you do," Grandone tells his clients

The first 18-minute video, which is not credited under the continuing legal education (CLE) program, was first put up on the West LegalEd Center website April 12.

"I approached them with the idea and was told it was not like anything in their repertoire, and that it would be a new offering they provide," Grandone said.

His motivation for producing the videos is to provide a service for lawyers.

"It's an area that lawyers do not teach in law school and law firms do not do very well," Grandone said. 

He added that a law school's job is to teach law and to prepare students to practice law, not to run a business.

"Marketing absolutely should be taught because it is not second nature," Grandone said. "I would hope that they would add it as a part of their curriculum, or bringing in guest speakers." 

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