The New York Times, June 19
Who is your client, and what are its media goals?
Cyrus Afzali: The Legal Marketing Association (LMA) is a not-for-profit group charged with advancing the cause of legal marketing. It was looking to use PR to get out in front of what it considered to be overbroad rules changes to legal marketing that were being put in place by the state of New York.
The New York Times Business section is obviously a high-profile outlet, but what made it a good target for this cause?
Afzali: The New York Times Business section is read by lawyers and legal firms around the country, and because these new rules could potentially impact every lawyer who did business in New York, it was a good fit. While doing some media outreach on the issue, we got wind that one of the Times' reporters, Maria Aspan, was already at work on a column about legal TV ads, so we pitched her on using the LMA as an expert source to talk about the broader rules changes.
The changes to the New York legal marketing rules are fairly complex - was it difficult to explain the LMA's take on this issue?
Afzali: No. What we did was position it as a business issue, and even without hard financial numbers, we were able to argue that these changes would have a negative impact on the whole legal business. LMA's past president Kim Perret spoke to Aspan about the marketing preferences of different types of law firms and the decision-making process they go through, and whether advertising is a good choice for their culture.
What was the impact of the hit?
Afzali: The story ran June 19 and did a great job of validating the work the LMA was doing on behalf of the legal profession. It also triggered a call from MSNBC to get comment on another issue involving legal marketing, and so the organization was really pleased with the story.
Name: Cyrus Afzali, president, Astoria Communications (Sloatsburg, NY)
Placement: The New York Times, June 19
Pitch timeline: Six months