10 August, 2022
film camera

Court on camera

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.

5 August, 2022
being different

The challenges of being different

Law firms are constantly looking for ways in which they can differentiate themselves in a hugely competitive market. Plenty of firms will state that they are innovative, forward thinking and client-centred, but to stand out enough to win and retain clients, firms have to go much further. Those responsible for driving much of this work are the marketing and business development (BD) directors. Their position in the firm is quite unique, working across all functions, practice areas and sector groups they provide a 360° view of the firm.

4 July, 2022
press interview

Victory in the court of public opinion

There’s nothing that gets the press excited more than a good litigation battle. From tabloid heaven like the Wagatha Christie libel trial, to legal and financial press delights like ENRC v Dechert, high-profile litigation nearly always makes the headlines. As a result, the need to have litigation support in place, both for law firms and clients alike, cannot be overstated and could have long-lasting impact in the court of public perception.

8 June, 2022
hidden disabilities lanyard

Neurodiversity: The secret weapon for recruiting talent and winning clients...

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.

30 May, 2022
rough sea

Merger communications: Navigating choppy waters

Merger activity in the legal sector continues apace. Just last week Shakespeare Martineau announced a merger with Bristol firm GL Law and according to recent research by our client Acquira Professional Services, nearly half of law firms are considering M&A. Communications is an important aspect of any M&A strategy, given the potential for press scrutiny and the need for buy-in from partners, staff, clients and other stakeholders. Getting merger communications wrong can cause reputational damage, impact staff morale and even jeopardise the merger itself.

12 April, 2022

The ignorance of public perception and the Royal PR disaster

PR is all about perception and in legal PR I always risk assess every announcement or press release I do for a client. Did anybody risk assess allowing Andrew – a shamed royal stripped of all public duties because of his past misdemeanors – to be beside the Queen? If they did it was incredibly badly thought out, but if the Queen was advised of the PR backlash and insisted he was by her side anyway, then it shows unbelievable arrogance. Sure enough, the limelight was stolen by Andy’s appearance and the headlines were about him rather than his father.

23 March, 2022
Ukraine protest

Crisis talks: How law firms responded to Russia

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

18 March, 2022

Is it time to ditch ‘off the record’?

Part of life as a journalist is going up to people in a social setting and someone laughing, “Oh, careful what you say now! He’s going to quote you!” To which I always reply, with a forced smile: “Don’t worry, you’re off the record.” The whole business of ‘off the record’, ‘unattributable’ and ‘on background’ is a murky one because these phrases can mean slightly different things to different people. There’s no industry standard as such. So, a key legal PR tip is that, if you are giving a journalist information that you don’t want them to quote you saying, be very clear in advance about the basis on which you are speaking and how your words can be used, if at all.

17 February, 2022
covered ears

Creating a tin ear free zone

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.
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