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Police Shootings and Technology: The Cavalry Charge Podcast Ep. 1

John Taylor, a prominent Los Angeles-area civil litigator who has handled numerous high-profile cases, joins host David Bloom in the Cavalry Charge podcast to discuss wrongful-death police shootings; how ambush killings of cops are affecting juries and jury selection; and the impacts and implications of body cameras, vehicle cameras, social media and facial-recognition technology.

Our Legal PR tips, from the new TYL (The Young Lawyer)

Five Marketing Tips Today’s New Attorney Must Follow

Howard Breuer is the cofounder of Cavalry PR in Los Angeles

(From TYL)

Today’s attorneys face an intimidating list of public relations (PR) and marketing options. There’s traditional PR, social media, newspaper ads, blogging, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), radio and TV ads, YouTube, Facebook ads, Twitter, podcasts, and so much more.

Think about your target clients, and what forms of media they encounter.

Are you in a big city or a small town where a Facebook campaign will reach nearly everyone within a week?

Pare the list down to three to five approaches to start. If you’re still unsure, many firms that specialize in legal PR usually will give a free consultation.

Here are five pieces of advice any new practice or solo practitioner should follow.

Supersize your website. Many attorneys rush through creating a website—put some thought, creativity, and effort into creating a robust, clean site that highlights your specialties and tells your story. Think of the site as a commercial that will replay for years to come. Shouldn’t yours be more engaging and appealing than your competitors’?

The Facebook company page. A company page on Facebook is a must. Post your logo, location, specialties, and a photo or three. Write a few interesting posts that link to your website. Invite your Facebook friends to “like” the page, and ask others to get their friends to do the same. Try to post at least once a week with news, views, victories, or fun moments—always linking to your core website. It’s great free promotion that boosts your SEO, which is why top website and SEO contractors insist on them.

Traditional media. Get mentioned in at least three to five online media stories, and post them on your Facebook page and your website. It’s a great way to establish credibility and plant some nice goodies online for potential clients who Google you. One basic approach is to identify reporters already writing within your area of expertise. Reach out with helpful advice—answer the relevant questions that they haven’t had time to ask. Explain who will win the lawsuit or trial they just wrote about and briefly explain why. Offer to be a free resource anytime they need you.

First round’s on me. Face-to-face still matters—a lot. Network with other attorneys through bar association mixers and other professionals through myriad organizations. The “Professional Networking” page on Meetup.com lists 18,905 groups with 7.1 million members in thousands of cities, so stock up on those business cards.

Monkey around with contacts. Organize the email addresses of clients and potential clients on a specialty email site, such as Mailchimp, and blast out sharp-looking newsletters once every month or two. Offer advice, news about your company, and links to those great media stories. And don’t forget to link back to that website.

PR for a Missing Mom Evolved Into A Series of Successful Legal Battles

 

ANNE BREMNER

Shortly after Susan Cox Powell went missing from her home in West Valley City, Utah more than five years ago, I was asked to help Charles and Judith Cox with public relations associated with their daughter’s disappearance. Little did I know that this was but the first step in a very long, tortured journey for everybody involved.

The case received national media attention due to the bizarre circumstances surrounding Susan’s disappearance, Susan’s husband’s Josh’s move to his father Steven’s Puyallup, Wash. home shortly thereafter, and the very public battle between the Powells and the Coxes over everything from Susan’s journals to custody of her two sons. Susan’s family and I were insistent that Josh be deprived custody amid mounting evidence of inappropriate behavior and word that the West Valley City PD was preparing to arrest Josh for murder.

My defined role as PR attorney drastically changed on Feb. 5, 2012,  when Josh Powell murdered his sons and himself during a state supervised visitation. I was devastated by the deaths and completely shocked when I learned more about the state’s failure to protect Charlie and Braden while in its custody and control.  What started as a simple PR campaign quickly turned into a crusade to ensure the protection of children while in state custody and to publicize the need for more protection for this vulnerable population.

Not long after Charlie and Braden died, I had the honor of working very closely with the Coxes and with State Sen. Pam Roach (R-Auburn) to pass the Charlie and Braden Powell Act, which protects children in state custody proceedings that involve a parent who is a suspect in a violent crime.  The legislation importantly remembers these beautiful, young boys and aims to prevent similar tragedies.  If this legislation existed at the time Charlie and Braden were in state custody, they very well might still be alive.

These senseless deaths could have been prevented if the State of Washington and its social workers at the time had recognized and prioritized their duty to protect children.  Over the last eight years, the child-welfare division of the Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) has paid out over $160 million to children who were tortured, starved, raped and sometimes killed while in its custody and care.

After the boys were killed, my law firm began investigating the state’s role in their deaths and quickly uncovered a constellation of failures.  It was evident that their deaths could and should have been prevented.  However, as evidenced by the substantial sums of money paid to victims over the last decade, neither DSHS nor its social workers believe a duty was owed to Charlie and Braden and nothing was done to protect them from the obvious danger that was their father.  The boys’ estates filed suit against DSHS in April 2013 and the case is set for trial in May 2016.

I was involved in other legal battles connected with the case. I successfully co-represented Susan’s family in litigation over the victims’ life insurance policies. And I successfully collected a  $2 million judgment for Steven Powell’s neighbor after the elder Powell was convicted of voyeurism.

The Coxes originally came to me because they were in crisis, and although that crisis has broadened, I never floundered in my representation of their needs and will continue to advocate for them as well as others in times of need.

As a PR and crisis management team member with Cavalry PR,  I’m very proud to be able to help clients on so many levels.

Litigation attorney Evan Bariault contributed to this post.

For A Broken-Hearted Sister, Need for Counseling Took a Backseat to Trial of the Century

TANYA BROWN

There were two traumas that destroyed my psyche two decades ago – the loss of my older sister and the outrageous trial that followed.

We will never get over the loss of Nicole, but I could have emerged much less traumatized by the trial if I had excellent counselors who understood what we were going through.

But it was a different time. Everybody, including myself, was too focused on the Trial of the Century. There had never been this big of a trial before. The government wasn’t prepared to deal with all of the defense team’s maneuvers and antics—much less the crisis’s impact on the victims’ families.

Through the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, my family was assigned a victim-witness advocate who was compassionate beyond belief and who played a crucial role for my family during the court day. He escorted us from the DA’s office to the courtroom, protected us from the prying media, helped us understand the system and provided us with community referrals and counselors who could help us heal.

Trials are very dynamic and it is a different type of exhaustion. In fact, it can be a greater exhaustion than the crime itself because you are trying to understand something so foreign and confusing in the midst of your emotions. You are so emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically fatigued that even trying to comprehend the system can become incredibly overwhelming.

So, the advocate took that pressure from us and helped us navigate through the chaos of the Trial of The Century. I truly am so grateful to him. He is still in my heart.

However, looking back now, two decades later, there was something missing: A friend, a liaison, a coach.

I needed alternative means of support beyond our court advocate – someone to help me transition from a day of court proceedings to my regular routine in my personal and professional life.

Sure, the DA’s Victim Witness Program gave me a referral for a local therapist, but the counselor was more focused on the case and my sister’s children – the youngest survivors of the victims – than on my mind and all the pain that occupied it.

That neglect left me disenfranchised with therapists in general. So when the trial ended, I never reached out to anyone. I held everything in.

That didn’t work out too well.

As I documented last year in my book, Finding Peace Amid The Chaos, because I had no skills to manage the chaos, depression, anger, and hate that festered inside of me, I wound up for several days as a psych patient in the local hospital.

It sounds rough, but that was a key turnaround point. I finally started learning how to deal with my pain.

In the months and years that followed, I kept learning about counseling and psychology until I found myself with a graduate degree in counseling psychology, although my life experiences have given me far better training to help people in crisis than any degree on my wall.

Today, as a speaker, coach, author and member of the Cavalry PR Crisis Management Team, I make up for the wrongs of the past. Where there are murder cases that are so high-profile and chaotic that the victims have no one in their corner who truly understands what they’re going through and who truly knows how  to help, know that I am here. And I am with you.

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