My newest law practice column has been published in The Lawyers Weekly, and this month’s topic has a media focus: how a lawyer can give a good interview without putting herself at risk. It was the result of twin streams of thought I’ve had lately: one, that many lawyer interviews are remarkably bland and produce eye-glazing copy in print, and two, that I’m seeing more instances of lawyers misquoted or misunderstood even in top-notch publications. The latter trend likely will only exacerbate the former one, as lawyers worried about being misinterpreted will be even more reticent with reporters and will stay well within the safety zone during interviews.
I like to think there’s a balance that lawyers can strike between careful and care-free, one that depends on setting expectations at the start and preparing in advance; that’s what the article explores in more detail. The whole issue really emphasizes the critical importance of trust between a lawyer and a journalist, and like in any relationship, that trust has to be earned over time. To paraphrase an old rule: verify until trust.