- Posted by Leslie Valenza
- On September 24, 2021
- content, Poston Content
A court has handed down its decision in a closely watched case. A merger between two corporations has been announced. A federal agency has unveiled an extensive change in regulation with significant implications to key industries. Your firm’s lawyers race to draft an alert detailing the news and deliver it to clients ahead of competitors.
Here’s the thing, even if your firm’s alert hits general counsel’s inboxes before competitors’ do, your clients likely have already read about the development in news articles – the same way you did. Being first to report news stories is a top priority for reporters and – considering reporting is their actual job – lawyers are hard-pressed to compete with journalists in that effort.
While timeliness is important, relevance is perhaps more critical to writing client alerts. Aim to craft alerts that provide value beyond the basic “who, what, when and where” details already covered by reporters. Rather, leverage your legal background and experience to offer what most reporters cannot – insight on “why” that will be important to your clients.
Provide insight on what the development means for particular industries, businesses or areas of law; brief background on how the development came to be; clarity on possible outcomes based on the facts presently known; background on how this issue has played out in the past, and other useful context.
Client Alert Checklist
As you begin writing an alert, provide context by addressing the following questions that may be on the minds of clients:
- Why should I care about this case, deal or change in the law?
- How will it affect my business or the way I do my job?
- Do I need to worry about this issue? Or have we seen this issue in the past? And if so, how has it played out before?
- What happens next?
After you’ve provided relevant background on the matter, outline actionable insights that guide clients toward a path forward. Consider addressing the following questions:
- What do I need to know about this issue in order to prevent a problem or solve a problem?
- What steps should I take to achieve that goal?
- What things should I consider or takeaway from this development?
To conclude your alert, consider providing additional resources that may be useful to clients in further exploring the issue. Consider including:
- Links to past alerts, blog posts, webinars or other firm content that addresses related issues
- Direct readers on how to reach the appropriate firm contacts who can assist in handling the issue
- A list of frequently asked questions for additional context on the issue
Our Poston Content team is available to assist law firms with writing and editing client alerts, blog posts, bylined articles and other firm materials that demonstrate your lawyers’ knowledge, experience and valuable insights on pivotal legal matters.