What is legal PR?
In a nutshell legal PR is all about managing the reputation of law firms through a mixture of press office work, issues management and occasionally “crisis management”. The aim is to allow firms’ reputations to support and drive business goals. One can work for a PR agency, whilst some larger firms have in-house communications teams.
Press office work involves getting quality publicity for any news involving clients, such as merger announcements, service line launches, client wins and lateral hires.
Issues management means placing lawyers as expert media commentators on developments relating to law and business generally.
Crisis management involves guiding clients through situations that could potentially have negative impacts on their reputations.
What does legal PR include on a day to day basis?
Legal clients have different requirements, but at a very basic level legal PR’s are judged on the quality of press coverage achieved and how this relates to overall business strategy. So working back from that output, a typical day involves media monitoring to source opportunities, taking client briefings if the opportunities are of interest, drafting press-facing material in reaction and then selling that into the media. This is the basic outline of a typical day, but there aren’t many of those around in PR!
What qualities do you have to have to work in PR?
An interest in your clients and the work they do, and a passion for current affairs, are essential. Other important qualities include top quality writing skills, oral advocacy, tenacity, and most importantly the ability to persuade people to trust and respect you.
Do you have to have any specific qualifications to get into legal PR?
Not necessarily. In many cases, direct experience of law is particularly useful. Other than that, a knowledge of marketing theory and techniques is a good grounding as well.