Author: Kerry Jack

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Black Letter Communications Blog

Expert pr advice for the legal sector

West Ham coach David Moyes found himself in the spotlight last week for all the wrong reasons. In going ahead with choosing a player (Kurt Zouma) who was filmed kicking his pet cat in front of his children, Moyes gave the following defence: “My job is to try and win for West Ham and to put out the best team for that. My job is to pick the best team for West Ham and Kurt was part of that team”. For a man of Moyes’ experience, and for a club the size of West Ham, both really should have anticipated what happened next.

Recent research has revealed just how much the media landscape has changed over the past five years, with brands having to compete harder than ever before for shrinking press opportunities. Research from Brands2Life and Media Measurement found that there were 21% fewer articles published by top UK media compared to five years ago. During the same period brand-led stories fell by 28%, with ‘big issues’ dominating, accounting for 44% of all media coverage. For all brands, from supermarkets to law firms, it means having to fight harder than ever to secure coverage.

Handling a communications crisis is always something you hope won’t happen, but it can be more valuable in the learnings it brings than any text book. I now specialise in legal and litigation PR, but in a different life I had a very wide-ranging career in PR and corporate communications both in agency and in-house, working in a government department, a charitable foundation and a university. I am not sure whether you could call me unlucky or I’ve just been in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I have worked through plenty of crises during my career, ranging from small-scale and local to large and global.

is it worth law firms entering awards and if so, which ones? What are the benefits from a PR perspective and what makes for a winning entry? Over the past 10 years, the team at Black Letter have worked with clients to secure a wide range of award wins for chambers, law firms, individuals and teams and these are questions we have been asked many times.

According to a new report, law firms wanting to recruit the best young lawyers must showcase how they make “the world a better place”. You will hear no arguments from anyone at Black Letter Communications to the contrary. The report, by legal consultancy Jomati, said the existing ESG (environmental, social, governance) framework would take on particular importance in the “build back better” post-pandemic world.

The country’s largest law firms are providing clients with plenty of advice on the legal implications of the Covid-19 crisis but doing little to explain their own response, both the impact on staff and how they are supporting their communities in dealing with it. We reviewed the websites of the top 200 law firms and found that 159 had dedicated sections on the legal implications of the pandemic, including 92 of the top 100. A quarter of the firms provided multi-media resources, such as webinars and podcasts, on top of articles.

Since the coronavirus pandemic took hold there have been many examples of businesses in the spotlight for the way they have responded to the outbreak. My colleagues have written several blogs examining the good, the bad and the ugly and I am sure there will be more examples as organisations grapple with how to respond to an ever-changing situation.

Since Neil and I started our legal PR firm Black Letter Communications almost nine years ago, much of our work, and indeed our success, has been achieved from the comfort of our own homes. I would go even further and say that some of that success has come from the very fact that we work from home.

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