'Box and Cox'

Interesting to see how media tastes for PR disasters are bringing the legal and PR professions closer together in a ‘Box and Cox’ arrangement. Tho the McDonalds ‘McLibel’ scandal clearly illustrated the need for PR involvement when litigation (with real public interest) is being pursued, it seems to have taken a while for the ‘penny to drop’ within legal circles. Writing in Saturday’s Age (9/12), Kenneth Nguyen outlined how attempted ‘smackdown’ defamation lawsuits by corporations can actually start to write their own, ongoing and unhelpful headlines. For eg, facing allegations of ‘corporate pedophilia’, prestige Oz retail store David Jones’ attempts to douse the story, actually fanned the flames of coverage (just as it did with McLibel – see Talespin case study). While over at legalweek.com, a tidy article by Ronel Lehmann – Chief Exec of Lehmann Communications – succinctly outlines why PR (Ronel’s emphasis is on media relations) should be a prime litigation consideration. Ronel suggests that the court of public opinion (via the media) clearly influences formal court proceedings (as OJ or AWB would surely testify). PR is also handy for creating legal fame or repute for, he says, barristers on the rise. Leading with the Mills/McCartney divorce spat, Ronel’s piece is topical and quite skillfully beats his own new business drum without too much of a din; superb.

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