The enormously respected Legal Business editor Alex Novarese has penned an interesting editorial on the demise of what he calls the 'PR as managing partner consigliere'.
Firstly, that he raises the issue at all is surprising: who knew Alex had a soft spot for legal PRs and the dark arts?
Secondly, I'm not sure there ever was a golden age of legal PR where we acted as consigliere to the managing partner. The mafia imagery of banging heads together to solve conflict never really rang true.
Alex rightly raises the importance of internal communications - legal businesses are now very large, spanning multiple offices and jurisdictions. The need for clear internal communications has never been more important. But that is not where the PR teams focus all of their energy.
Perhaps the truth behind the Legal Business editorial is that the time legal PRs spend chasing the tail of the legal press is just not what it was. They are not the only show in town.
Don't get me wrong - the legal press are vitally important and legal PRs will ignore them at their peril.
Yet legal PRs will spend significantly more of their time focusing their efforts on the media their clients read - trade, national, local and direct to client comms.
And that surely is a healthy picture.
For a pundit often claimed to be dismissive of the PR community, the subject of this leader may surprise. The reputation was never that accurate – I’ve always said skilled comms professionals are an asset to major law firms – but let’s put that to one side for now. The topic is something I’ve been noticing for some time: the slow decline of the PR professional as consigliere to law firm leaders. While the breed was never plentiful, it wasn’t that long ago that there was a sizeable group of battle-hardened comms hands that had judgement, integrity, long contact lists and who were effective as support and sources of information to managing partners.