The Orange County Bar Association: Stakeholders and Messaging

OCBAbwLOGOFounded in 1933, the Orange County Bar Association (OCBA) has facilitated connections between attorneys in order to meet, exchange information related to their legal specialty areas, and provide valuable legal and community services to residents in surrounding communities. The OCBA has 3,300 members in Orlando, FL, including members of the judiciary, attorneys, paralegals, other legal professionals, and law students. The association has created several programs to help individual in legal studies as well as the general public, such as:

Leadership Law: an education outreach program designed to teach the general public how legal systems work and impact their daily life.

New Lawyer Training Program: an opportunity for new attorneys to meet judges and learn about courthouse procedures.

Benchbar Conference: a bi-annual event providing professional education for attorneys, taught by over 50 judges from circuit, county, and federal courts.

Citizens Dispute Settlement / FamilyLaw Mediation program: a gratuitous service to settle civil and family law matters outside of court.

Legal Aid Society: pro bono legal service and/or monetary support for the work of the society, which annually provides legal services to more than 17,000 people.

I am in the process of creating a social media campaign for this organization and wanted to address the Public Relations Strategic Planning Model steps 9 and 10.

9. Key Stakeholders: Specific groups having a role or interest in the goals of the organization. In other words, individuals impacted or having the potential to be impacted by the campaign. These groups can be narrowly defined using demographics and psychographics.

According to the OCBA, their social media audiences are their members, current sponsors, and members of the public. Keep in mind that these are not the whole organization’s stakeholders, but specifically those who are interested in their social media, and who will be impacted by the social media campaign. These three audiences can be broken down into more specific segments as you will see below.

Segment 1: seasoned attorneys/judges.

These people have been a part of the industry for a long time and are more interested in new industry information, as well as how they can service their community with their expertise. The demographics for this segment tends to be older white males with a mid-high income and college education.

Segment 2: legal practitioners. 

This segment is composed of licensed lawyers who have been in the industry long enough to be comfortable and competent. They are most likely shooting for owning a law firm or becoming a judge. The national demographics for this segment are 64%* male, 88%* white, with a median age of 49*, and 75%* working in a private practice.

Segment 3: law students.

Law students are students working towards getting their license (passing the Bar exam). They are typically young and do not have a steady income. They are pretty equally gendered with only a slight majority of males but are primarily white, with only a 28.5%* minority enrollment in 2013.

Segment 4: law firms.

Law firms are a conglomeration of legal practitioners who work under the same company name. They are the primary sponsors of the OCBA because they also tend to be members. 75%* of law firms are private practices, being that 49%* of those private practices are solo, meaning only one person is in the practice, not even making it a law firm. When it comes to law firms, 76%* generally contain 2-5 lawyers.

Segment 5: companies supporting legal profession. 

These companies tend to sell products or provide services legal practitioners need. For example, I looked at the advertisers in the OCBA’s publication The Briefs in order to find company sponsorships. Some companies I found were security system sellers, banks, and private schools.

Segment 6: students interested in law.

It is difficult to discover which students are interested in law, so it is safe to assume the demographic we are trying to reach here is the general population of higher-level students. This means any children ages 12-18 enrolled in a private or public school.

Segment 7: citizens wanting to stay up to date with legal information.

Citizens who want to stay informed with changes in laws or news relating to legal practitioners tend to be retired lawyers, the spouses of licensed lawyers, or those simply interested in law. Since the demographic is extremely broad for this segment and we cannot simply list “general public” as a key stakeholder, we must rely on the psychographic of being interested in law.

*All the numbers above originate from the American Bar Association’s Lawyer Demographics for 2016.

10. Key Messages: Specific points that are of relevance to both your organization and the key stakeholders to which they are to be communicated, usually broken down by stakeholders.

Although key messages are typically broken down by stakeholders, for the sake of clarity and simplicity, I will lump some together.

Legal Practitioners: Becoming a member of the OCBA is essential to your profession due to the member benefits, connections, and resources offered.

Law Students: The OCBA offers a New Lawyer Training Program to get you ready to practice law.

Sponsors: Sponsoring the OCBA opens the door to many benefits including increasing your visibility, building your practice or business, and networking with some of the most influential leaders in Central Florida.

Law-interested Citizens: The OCBA is a leader in providing information about the law industry.

The key stakeholders and messaging are appropriate to the campaign goals I’ve identified with a focus on social media because these are the people who engage with the OCBA on their social media sites. Although my campaign’s focus is on the law students, it also addresses reaching the other stakeholders with the key messages listed above.

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