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.
As the awards season for this year draws to a close, winners and nominees might be wondering how to make best use of their new accolades, whilst others may be wondering whether they ought to have put themselves forward for their achievements. But is it worth entering awards and if so, which ones? What are the benefits from a legal PR perspective and what makes for a winning entry?
One of the many things that we will all take away from 2020 is that open, honest and informed communication will never go out of fashion. Whether it’s an election, an unprecedented global pandemic or an error in judgement – honesty is key.
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
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.
Whilst the government implores us all to get back to the office, the reality is that for the majority of law firms, working from home for much of the week is going to continue for the foreseeable future. Covid cases are rising and law firms are in no rush to bring employees back to their desks – it is estimated that only 10% of City solicitors are currently working in the office.
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.
As we all know communications and brand reputation are vital components during a time of crisis, and I was recently interviewed by Ben Curle at Ambition, about how law firms have been communicating during the pandemic.
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.