Texas Board of Legal Specialization

TBLS

Building Awareness of Board Certification

Established by the Supreme Court of Texas in 1974, the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS) certifies attorneys in 25 specialty areas of legal expertise to provide consumers a means of identifying qualified attorneys to serve their legal needs. However, in the early 2000s, the legal profession started to change as the internet provided new means for attorneys to position themselves as experts and connect directly with consumers — decreasing the perceived value of certification. In addition, attorneys were no longer required by law to advertise whether they are or are not certified by TBLS, making it more difficult to brand the value of Board Certification in a diverse marketplace. As a result, TBLS engaged Pierpont to help increase the value and benefits associated with Board Certification among consumers and attorneys.

Pierpont determined the best way to achieve the organization’s objectives was through a comprehensive media relations and marketing program. This program involved numerous components, including a media coordination, website redesign, and more. A cornerstone of the strategy, Pierpont created a Board Certified logo which became the visual groundwork for other communications tactics. Pierpont then redesigned the TBLS website to appeal to both members and consumers by incorporating a robust search function to beckon visitors to “Find a Board Certified Attorney.”

For the media relations component, Pierpont worked with reporters to place stories with TBLS spokespersons in various publications throughout Texas as well as worked with the Austin American-Statesman web editor to create a reader’s blog for local consumers called “Know Your Rights” to control the messaging and generate optimal awareness for the value of Board Certification.

A few months after the website launched, TBLS.org had more than 17,000 unique page views. The feedback on the Board Certified logo was all positive by members. Board Certification programs in other states had even contacted TBLS to inquire about using the logo for their own programs. Finally, the TBLS blog, “Know Your Rights,” was seen extraordinary success as it was one of the top recommended reader’s blogs by consumers at Statesman.com the year of its launch.