Author: Sue Carr

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Black Letter Communications Blog

Expert pr advice for the legal sector

I spoke to an editor friend recently who told me they no longer had phones at the place where she worked. “I have a work mobile, but I jump out of my skin when it rings as no one ever calls,” she said. This in itself isn’t anything new. I’m used to seeing ‘no phone calls’ listed in journalists’ bios on media databases. Once considered the norm, leaving a voicemail now borders on the offensive and almost certainly won’t be picked up. Journalists will always tell you to email in the first instance, but emails are easily missed and often forgotten. The same editor admitted she received so many that her inbox was bulging with thousands marked ‘unread.’

The chatter around artificial intelligence has grown a lot louder over the last 12 months since the launch of ChatGPT, the all-singing and dancing robot that’s allegedly coming to take our jobs. A new report by management consultants McKinsey claims that up to 70% of the work that many of us do could soon be automated. Just this month, a Court of Appeal judge admitted asking the “jolly useful” ChatGPT for help in writing a judgment and being satisfied with the answer. But the headlines didn’t tell the full story.

A week really is a long time in politics. Just ask Gary Lineker. The ex-England footballer and long-time presenter of BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’ found himself temporarily ousted this month after the broadcaster ruled that a tweet about the government’s new controversial migration policy was in breach of its impartiality guidelines. In just over 200 characters, the former face of Walkers crisps sparked an extraordinary, seven-day standoff with the BBC after comparing the language used to describe the policy with that of 1930s Germany. Quite accurately as it turned out.

Legal history was made last month when, for the first time in England and Wales, cameras were allowed inside London’s Old Bailey to film the sentencing of a man convicted of manslaughter. Televised court proceedings are not new and have been permitted in the senior courts for a number of years, albeit infrequently and not on the scale of countries like the US where The People v. OJ Simpson attracted 100 million viewers at its peak.

Diverse organisations are proven to be more profitable, innovative, and better able to retain talent. And with big name firms like Microsoft, IBM, and Goldman Sachs among those to realise the benefits and introduce neurodivergent hiring programmes, it is high time that other employers including law firms followed suit. Yet law firms open to the many benefits of recruiting a neurodiverse workforce need to be really committed to doing so. This is an area where they will get found out quickly if it is undertaken as a PR exercise or a box-ticking exercise.

I can only imagine the hundreds of meetings that must have taken place over the last few weeks as law firms linked to Russia scrambled to craft their response to the crisis unfolding in Ukraine. The unprecedented and devastating scenes of human suffering have sent shockwaves around the world. But firms had little time to strategise before they found themselves painted as villains – ‘enablers’ of Putin’s regime

In a post-pandemic world in the grips of a climate change crisis, job seekers with the luxury of choosing where they work have decided they want more – and it’s not just about the money. As well as perks like private healthcare and flexible working, a growing number of environmentally conscious candidates are asking firms to prove their eco-credentials as well. If you’re a law firm looking to attract and retain talent, going green might seem like an easy win – but it’s not as straightforward as it sounds.