Helping a lawyer ‘newsjack’ her way into AI legal media coverage

Client situation

Harris St. Laurent & Wechsler LLP (HSW) is a leading New York litigation boutique whose work in white-collar and employment matters has been recognized by Chambers USA, Benchmark Litigation, Lawdragon and various other legal awards and rankings organizations. Founded in 2009, HSW has developed a strong reputation managing cases involving white-collar crime, business and co-founder disputes, executive compensation conflicts and more.

The firm has secured several of the largest arbitration awards ever granted by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), making it a prominent go-to firm for founders and white-collar executives. HSW also boasts partners who have taken up groundbreaking cases involving intellectual property rights around Web 3.0 assets (including cryptocurrencies and NFTs), the rights of professionals following special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger IPOs, and other cutting-edge legal questions. 


In the face of emerging media coverage about the dangers of using ChatGPT with legal work, an HSW partner brought up an experience she felt would be worth sharing as a cautionary tale for lawyers testing out artificial intelligence (AI). This partner told Reputation Ink that she worked with a client on a case that required her and her intern to research Arizona case law. When they shared their findings, however, the client challenged them on why they did not include a couple of specific cases he found on his own. Embarrassed, the partner asked the firm’s intern to dive further into the cases the client shared to see what went wrong.

However, there was a very logical reason neither the partner nor the intern found these cases: they didn’t exist. The client admitted to asking ChatGPT, a generative AI app, to identify Arizona cases that could bolster his arguments. Unfortunately for the client, the app “hallucinated,” generating case names, citations and other details the app fabricated to satisfy the client’s inquiry.

Our solution

The partner approached us with this anecdote in March 2023, just as the main legal trade publications began to take notice of generative AI and its promises and pitfalls for day-to-day practice. Reputation Ink’s legal PR team agreed that her story could make for an interesting pitch idea to share with reporters and editors. In addition, the team felt it would be a great opportunity for this partner to grow her own brand and introduce herself as a potential source for the legal industry’s top reporters and editors.

We decided to leverage “newsjacking,” a media relations strategy of injecting our client’s ideas and experiences into a news topic that was already being widely covered. We developed a plan to actively pitch the partner as a source to legal reporters covering the use of ChatGPT in the legal industry and litigation reporters. We also targeted New York-area and technology-focused outlets that discussed ChatGPT’s growing role in the legal sector, pitching the partner for potential column opportunities that detailed her experience and how ChatGPT could impact the attorney-client relationship. The pitch not only teased the partner’s anecdote but also presented the HSW partner as a ready and willing point of contact on AI’s potential impacts on the attorney-client relationship.


Reputation Ink’s pitch caught the interest of several publications for both interview and column opportunities. Among these opportunities was an interview with The American Lawyer, a highly reputable publication in the legal industry — and litigators in particular. To top things off, the interested editor oversees a widely followed weekly column that honors high-profile weekly accomplishments from litigators nationwide.

The editor quickly responded to the pitch, saying that the HSW partner’s ChatGPT experience was “pretty fascinating and potentially instructive.” The HSW attorney moved forward with an interview with the editor to discuss her experience.

Although the editor could have integrated the HSW partner’s comments as part of a survey piece focused on multiple attorneys, the editor focused his final piece entirely on the HSW partner’s insights and ChatGPT story. In the process, the partner developed a valuable connection with an influential litigation trade editor and netted prominent coverage that put her and HSW’s name in the AI-legal conversation. You can read our client’s American Lawyer column here.

When a breaking legal news event or conversational trend develops, it is critical for law firms to insert themselves into the conversations around them. Doing so helps showcase their expertise and abilities to help clients navigate emerging problems. After working with Reputation Ink, HSW was able to transform a unique client AI horror story into an instructive example of the firm’s prowess over new legal developments. In all, the opportunity inserted HSW into the ChatGPT-legal conversation, showing that the firm and its highly capable partners can be trusted to confront the technological developments affecting their client work.

“Reputation Ink’s legal PR team did an excellent job working with me to turn my cautionary AI tale into something helpful and instructive that could resonate with the legal community. Their connections and pitching helped fulfill the goals I had with sharing this story, which was to heighten HSW’s profile and show potential clients and referral sources that our firm knows how to stay abreast — and ahead — of ever-changing practice dynamics.” - Alisha McCarthy, Partner, Harris St. Laurent and Wechsler LLP