Author: Justin Penrose

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Black Letter Communications Blog

Expert pr advice for the legal sector

One way businesses can prove that they are doing the right thing is to get B Corporation certification. This isn’t the second team of the Avengers but a badge for for-profit businesses that meet “the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose”. The B stands for ‘Benefit’. You may be surprised – or not – to hear that just three law firms in the UK currently have B Corp status. Despite many a law firm heralding their pro bono work or their quest for justice, very few have followed up their press releases about putting the world to rights with actually becoming B Corp.


We all know the importance of PR and how effective it can be at putting brands in the most positive light, but even the best PR agency in the world can’t defend the indefensible. I have written about football clubs and their shocking handling of PR during the pandemic, but the failed European Super League (ESL) trumped – pun intended as the move was almost Trumpesque in its pure arrogance – all of the shambolic decisions that preceded it. In terms of launches it was one of the biggest PR own goals ever witnessed.


No sooner was 2020 and its seemingly never-ending stream of PR crises out of the way than we have seen another Covid-related PR disaster playing out. Unfortunately, it’s one that helps reinforce the much-peddled image of the fat cat lawyer, which is never good PR for law firms.


The term ‘fat cat lawyer’ conjures images of a rich and greedy portly law man living off the wealth of others as he quaffs champagne in his London mansion. Any of us who work in the legal profession know this is a largely unfair tabloid term that has tarnished the reputation of the whole profession for decades. While the term is generally unrepresentative of a profession that does a lot of good for society, some of those in law don’t really help to eradicate the fat cat image sometimes


There’s little doubt that appearing on TV is potentially one of those important points in a lawyer’s career. Do it well and you will have come across as knowledgeable, professional and eloquent and receive pats on the back from the managing partner or CEO. Do it badly and you at best you come across as inept. At worst you risk damaging the reputation of the firm you work for and potentially losing your job.


People say a crisis brings out the very best and the very worst in people – but it has also been the case for brands. From 99-year-old Captain Tom Moore raising £27million (at the time of writing) by doing laps of his garden, to our NHS heroes risking their lives every day to save lives, there are people who are so brave you can’t help but marvel at them. Then there are the brands that get it so wrong that they have managed to turn the coronavirus crisis into their own crisis communications scenario.



News is all around us yet one of the most common questions a PR or journalist gets is ‘what makes a story?’ There is no simple answer, more a litany of potential facts that make up the story jigsaw when dealing with legal and litigation PR.


For those unversed in journalism or legal PR the prospect of writing a legal press release can seem like a gargantuan task. But in reality, if you follow a few simple pointers you should be able to produce a press release that sends out the message you are looking to get across and get the coverage you desire.