September 16, 2015 by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 10:00:00 am
After more than 15 years at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and The Dallas Morning News – much of that tenure covering breaking news, high-profile trials and criminal cases – Robert Tharp joined Androvett Legal Media in 2007.
How do you apply that background in covering the courthouse to help your clients and reporters today?
Covering civil and criminal courts gave me the opportunity to sit in on literally hundreds of trials and witness some of the very best trial lawyers in Texas at work. This experience left me with an appreciation for how trial lawyers do their jobs and the demands they face, but also how to communicate sometimes very complicated legal matters in a way that everyday people can understand.
Was there anything that surprised you in making that transition?
As a journalist covering the courts, I thought I knew a lot about the practice of law. What I’ve learned since coming here is that what happens in the courtroom is just a small fraction of what lawyers might do in their professional lives. I’ve learned that there are many more stories to tell about lawyers involved in deal-making, transactions, compliance and advisory roles.
Is there a particular practice area that you find to be especially interesting?
I’ve found it interesting to observe how lawyers and law firms are able to adapt to market conditions. I’ve watched lawyers with a keen eye on trends pivot and successfully reinvent themselves. I’ve seen bankruptcy lawyers become dealmakers and personal injury lawyers become business or patent litigators, all based on an astute business outlook.
Are there some suggestions to offer attorneys in preparing to talk about their work or an individual case with a reporter?
As a reporter, I always appreciated it when lawyers responded quickly to my calls, even just to say that they could not comment on a case I was calling about. That’s huge. Beyond that basic advice, I tell lawyers in any situation to use plain language, avoid legal jargon and do everything they can to help reporters craft an accurate and thorough report.
How do you envision the legal profession – and individual attorneys – making a better use of the social media resources that are now available?
It’s become so clear in the last few years that an online presence is now the absolute go-to source for information of any kind. That means every lawyer and law firm should have a smart and functional website. It’s hard to believe, but we still encounter law firms that either don’t have websites or have sites that are embarrassingly outdated. Beyond that, the information revolution that has occurred creates valuable opportunities for lawyers to demonstrate their expertise and be “findable” in new ways. On the Internet and in social media, small and midsize firms have the opportunity to position themselves right alongside the largest and best-known firms, and that’s something that was very hard to do until recently.
What’s one thing that people don’t know about you?
I was part of a small team that created the definitive mobile app guide to the vanishing history related to the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas, which is still available for download at the App Store. Want to talk single-bullet theory? Give me a call.
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