Crisis Management Lessons For Business After Napa Earthquake

Rich Klein gives some quick crisis management tips for business in connection with the Napa CA earthquake. This is part of a series of videos known as The Crisis Management Minute. (Recorded August 24, 2014)

Law Firm Partners: 10 Actions To Polish Your Reputation in 2013

December is a great time for law firm partners to plan for significantly raising visibility and improving reputation in the new year.

Here’s 10 actions you can start implementing right now so you are positioned for business growth in 2013:

1 – Fix your biography so people can learn quickly what you’ve accomplished for similar clients in recent years. Did you win a high stakes litigation for a Fortune 500 company? Did you handle a mega-merger that was favorable to client? Lead with your best stuff, NOT where you went to law school!

2– Put some meat on your LinkedIn profile. The same revised biographical info on your firm website can go on LinkedIn. Be sure the copy is about how you serve and succeed for clients and not a laundry list of fancy titles and bar memberships.

3 — Learn how to use the Advanced Search capabilities on LinkedIn to create a powerful list of prospects customized by items such as geography, job title, company, etc.

4 — Consider launching a practice-specific blog. And, no, you don’t have to blog every day. You can post as little as once per week or month and the posts can be just a few sentences or a short audio or video.

5 — Create a Twitter account and start Tweeting every few days. An easy way to start is by sharing other people’s news that is related to your practice or linking to your new blog post.

6 —  Record and post to YouTube a 2 to 3 minute video that analyzes a hot legal issue in your practice (s) area. This is one way to establish/expand your thought leadership and will improve your search engine results very quickly.  Here’s one we did for a client earlier this year that received 8,000+ views and another that has surpassed 10,000 views.

7 — Identify and secure speaking engagements where your best prospects gather. Want to be a more powerful presenter? Study Steve Jobs and read The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs. You can also watch a wide variety of great presentations at TED. Here’s one by Seth Godin that is a great example of excellent presentation and inspiring content.

8– Learn how to deal more effectively with the media and consider hiring a professional who can help you with messaging, transitions, body language and answering the toughest questions.  (At LawFirmsPR, we now do this kind of training by Skype, including a video recording and written audit, so you can quickly learn and improve.)

9– Increase your likability and trust. I highly recommend reading The Likability FactorTrust Agents and Book Yourself Solid.

10– Learn more about crisis/litigation communications for your firm and your clients. A good place to start is The Crisis Show,  a weekly Internet broadcast I started in June 2012 with case studies on a wide variety of crises that touch the legal world —  and with nearly 20 hours of free content so far.

Law Firm Marketing Tools And Tips Using the (new) iPad

Here are some apps and ideas for lawyers and law firms that want to harness the power of (the new) iPad to be more efficient and to reach new prospects.

Videotaping Seminars & Speaking Engagements

Videotape your seminars, speaking engagements and other firm events in high definition using the native Camera app. But if you want to shoot, edit and upload all inside of one app, then consider Vimeo, Avid Studio or iMovie. Avid Studio makes it easy to upload clips directly to YouTube and Facebook. The iMovie app has a steeper learning curve than Vimeo and Avid, but it has the best sharing features, allowing you to upload to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and even CNN’s iReport.

Vimeo is also a great video hosting site alternative for professionals who want to avoid the often-juvenile and ad-filled YouTube channels and pages, but I recommend posting to both for optimal search engine results.

In a crisis, all these video tools can also be used to record and quickly distribute a managing partner’s media statement.

Law Firm Photos & Graphics

Use the built-in Camera app, but for more versatility and precision, use Pro Camera. To edit photos right on the iPad, use either PhotoShop Express or iPhoto for the iPad, but please, do NOT stand in front of law books, law degrees or  staircases when posing! SmugMug (an app and desktop) is a great place to post your photos and is used by many professional photographers. Pinterest is also increasingly being used by businesses to showcase photos and infographics, as well as videos.

Taking Notes–Text and Audio

Notability, Evernote and Penultimate are my three favorite note-taking apps. You can use your fingers for all three (Notability the best for this) or a stylus. Evernote also includes audio recordings. Use Dragon for dictation as the accuracy of this program has vastly improved in recent years.

Staying on top of the news

Try Mr. Reader, an RSS feed that lets you stay on top of all the news by topic, practice, industry, etc. I also like the iPad apps for AP (Associated Press), Reuters Pro, Bloomberg, BBC News, CBS News, CNBC and The Drudge Report, because it has so many news links in one place. Newspapers is a nicely designed app to search for media websites from around the world.

Business Social Media Apps

Instead of Twitter, use Tweetbot, which has a better interface that provides quick access to law firm mentions, messages and retweets.

Flipboard — Great way to use Facebook and Twitter for easy reading and posting.

LinkedIn — The top business app was recently revamped and it’s gorgeous. Now you can even integrate your calendar and see key information on one page with minimal navigation.

Google+ — Great place to create a law firm page that connects back to your website. Use it for posting  links from your website, blogs, photo albums, video channels and more.

Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Pocket Reference — Videos, articles and blog posts from the guy who has redefined sales. He also got me hooked on the phrase “business social media.”


Keynote — Apple’s intuitive and beautiful app for preparing slide presentations, it outdoes Powerpoint. PresenterPro and Present (60 Presentation Tips) will improve your content and stage presence.


OK..this isn’t really for marketing, but to relax before, during or after all your hard work! Check out NPR Music, Aweditorium (great new music, amazing interface), Wolfgang’s Vault  (incredible audio from live concerts for us baby boomers) AOL Radio and Pandora. And if you’re not crazy about iTunes design, try OnCue for your music player.

What are your favorite iPad apps? Please chime in.

General Counsel Echo What Many Legal PR, Legal Marketers Have Been Saying For Years

This is a great piece of video because it supports what many of us in law firm public relations and legal marketing have been saying to lawyers and law firms for years about the best way to get business from general counsel.

Nearly Half of General Counsels Surveyed Haven’t Updated Their Crisis Management Plans

A story in General Counsel magazine published today points out that 47 percent of GC’s have not updated their crisis-management plan to take account of the risks they may face in 2012, compared with only 36 percent who said they had.

As someone who has long advised lawyers, law firms and companies on crisis management, here are some immediate actions these GC’s (and their outside law firms) might take:

1) Create a crisis communications team right now if you don’t have one. Depending on the company size, the team should include the CEO, COO, GC, key outside attorney, HR officer, chief marketing officer,  top public affairs/public relations staffer (or senior person from outside PR agency) and heads of information technology and building security. If your company has multiple offices, include the top executives in those offices as well.

2) Gather the team in a conference room to assess/discuss brewing crisis situations. Some could be leftover from 2011 and others might be right over the horizon. Every company has a few on any given day. They range from disgruntled employees, crimes committed by employees or executives, allegations of sexual harassment, allegations of age/race/religious discrimination, lawsuits alleging faulty products, or a negative story about the company’s products or services that are  about to be published in a major business magazine, online and on radio/television. Of course, there are also the many “no fault” crisis situations like natural disasters and terrorism that every business needs to plan for.

3) Adjust your crisis management/crisis communications plan to include these scenarios and the real crisis situations that you know are particular to your company right now and in the near future.

4) Have your public relations professionals begin to DRAFT media statements that would respond to any of the crisis situations that you know are about to happen or to prepare for some of the items listed above in #2. Then, rehearse how your team will respond to various crisis situations. Some key things to remember here: insure that all members of the crisis communications team know their roles in a crisis, that everyone has full contact information of the entire team, and that the company speaks with one voice.

5) Check your social media. Are you answering customer complaints quickly and responsibly? Are you using Facebook/Twitter/YouTube to communicate your company’s goodwill and mission? Do you have a SENIOR person managing these accounts who understands online reputation and not just the technology?

Finally, please note that there are three key timelines in a crisis: Before, During and After. Too many companies don’t pay attention to these issues until they are in the middle of a crisis. So get prepared long before the crisis hits.

To read my articles published by and others on this subject, please visit my LinkedIn profile at and scroll to the bottom to download a PDF ( You can also learn more at If you need help with a brewing crisis, please email or call 646-789-5459.





Legal Malpractice Suits and Law Firm Crisis Communications

Here’s an insightful column by a Florida lawyer who says that greed plus the recession are the key contributing factors to the increase in malpractice suits filed against law firms in the past two years.

For many years, I’ve written about and advised law firms on crisis communications planning to deal with the threat of malpractice suits. For guidance on crisis communications for law firms, read my articles here and here.

High Stakes Litigation & Crisis Communications: What Companies Need To Know

Here’s a short promo of my upcoming online panel discussion on Wednesday, March 24th.

Here’s a link to listen in to the show on Blog Talk Radio:
High Stakes Litigation & Crisis Communications: What Companies Need to Know

Guests: Michele D. Beardslee, associate professor, University of Miami School of Law and Jonathan Bernstein of Bernstein Crisis Management.

Professor Michele D. Beardslee

Jonathan Bernstein