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Black Letter Communications Blog

Expert pr advice for the legal sector

Interviews with the media can be a daunting part of the legal PR process

As legal PR consultants, we always ensure our clients are as well prepared as possible before being interviewed. Our guides to broadcast and print interviews provide a useful guide, but if you’re looking for some more practical insight then look no further than Baroness Hale.

The President of the Supreme Court was interviewed last week by Emma Barnett on Radio 5 Live. Picking up on criticism levelled at recent lord chancellors, including Liz Truss and Chris Grayling, who are not lawyers, Barnett asked Lady Hale whether she thought it would be better if those in the post had a legal background.

All lawyers tread a fine line in media interviews, but this applies even more so if you’re the country’s most senior judge. Despite the tough questioning, our country’s top judge showed she’s mastered the art of broadcast interviews.

The exchange between Baroness Hale and Ms Barnett was reported in The Times:

The country’s top judge tactfully commended her inquisitor on “an interesting question” and told her that it had not been a requirement since 2005. Lady Hale conceded that it “may help to have some depth of understanding about the justice system, what it’s for and how it works”.

But she stressed: “There have been non-lawyer lord chancellors and they can learn about it and think about it as well as others can.”

When pressed further as to whether it would be preferable to have legal experience, Lady Hale paused for seven seconds before judgment got the better of her and she dodged the question. “I don’t know that I actually want to express a view one way or another about that. I think it’s the character and personality of the individual that matters more than the qualifications, the professional qualifications.”

I’ve been fortunate enough to meet Baroness Hale through my work with The First 100 Years. It’s no understatement to say that she is a rock-star among lawyers, and I take my hat off to her legal PR skills in not being drawn by the journalist and avoiding an inevitable media storm.