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September 28, 2011
Bringing Lawyers Around
 
PR people dread working with lawyers, unless they've worked with them effectively. And how do you do that? By demonstrating that PR is a craft like lawyering, with techniques — like planning and strategizing — that lawyers themselves employ. It's especially important to show a lawyer or two that you know what you're doing when it comes to proposing a social media campaign. There, you've got what's likely to seem a daunting control challenge. With SM, It becomes especially clear that you can only influence, not control.

Lawyers, of course, prefer control, though they can appreciate why it's not possible. To help bring a lawyer or two on board, Dave Fleet provides "7 Tips For Getting Legal Approval On Social Media Programs." They come down to showing that PR has tactics and objectives like those befitting corporate objectives. "Educate your legal team," Dave urges, "Don't just throw something new and uncertain like social media at them 'cold'; walk them through whay you're doing, why you're doing it and show them best practices that have been established."

If you've done your homework on social media, you'll have all this on hand. If you haven't, you need to. A smart lawyer will want to show management that he or she understands that PR is a craft with certifiable techniques, too. We've known some of them and they were great colleagues. (There were also a couple of lawyers, we regret to recall, who simply couldn't understand ethics.)

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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