For years they have been on separate paths, but since crisis is a synonym of corporate reputation, clients no longer worry about hiring a law firm when looking for a solution to their conflicts, but for several years they have understood that simultaneously they should look for someone who watches over their public image before it causes reputational damage and economic costs.

This is something that many traditional law firms were slow to notice and they even refused to share their strategies, obviously for reasons of confidentiality and trust; however, experience has taught me that cases that have been successful in their final resolution are not only those that are won in courts but those that have been handled jointly by professionals from various fields, so that the day after a legal decision a person can look at their peers peacefully.

This surely requires a coordinated work from the beginning, although of course always with the premise that the communication strategy needs to be subject to the legal strategy, unless otherwise mandated by the client.

However, communication professionals are little served by learning about the progress of their client’s case in the news or by the court. If there is no joint work in decision-making and definition of strategies from the beginning, you run the risk of taking false steps.

3 thoughts on “The New, Close Relationship Between Communication Agencies and Law Firms

  1. HMA Public Relations has many long-term relationships with members of the legal community here in Arizona. Both as clients as well as assisting the attorneys with communications needs for their clients. We have found the relationships to be mutually beneficial.

  2. Legal firms recognise the need to work with public affairs agencies to fight public opinion outside the court room. We have been working with law firms for the past 18 years. Our first case was a class action taken by members of a country club.

    In fact, Dentons, one of the biggest law firms in the world, formed an association of public affairs agencies named The NextLaw, to support them in issue and crisis management globally. Mileage was invited (thanks to our track record in crisis management)
    to be a member last year.

  3. In my 30 years in the PR business, one of the most dramatic changes I have witnessed is the shift in how lawyers and PR professionals regard one another. Early in my career, we were lined up on opposite sides of the table during a crisis, with the lawyers insisting we say nothing and the PR team pleading for permission to issue some sort of response.

    Flash forward three decades, and now some of my closest and smartest collaborators are the lawyers with whom we share a mutual client. There is true respect for the role that each team plays. And, as I often tell clients, the more “tugging” that goes on between your legal and communications teams, the stronger the guidance you are likely to receive.

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