“With an ever increasing recognition of the importance of effective communications within the law sector, several universities are offering degrees that combine law and communications. More and more lawyers will have studied media, advertising, journalism and public relations.

While this is a move in the right direction, it is doubtful that this added training, in its current form, will equip lawyers to handle complex legal matters with significant socio-political implications or to engage in communications beyond turning out the odd media release. These things will need to be learned on the job or by acquiring external expertise when meeting the needs of clients. Learning on the job cannot be an efficient process, unless a law firm handles more than the odd matter requiring this type of support.

Roberts Gray Lawyers has addressed the ever increasing communications requirement by including a specialist division within the three pillars service delivery model. Where it will contribute to achieving a successful outcome, strategic planning often includes market research design, a communications plan, communications collateral, political liaison and public perception management. A critical component of law communications, for politically sensitive issues, is understanding and managing public perceptions. One area where this is of particular importance is foreign investment. Australia has always relied heavily on investments from other countries to kick start national development. However, it is relatively easy in Australia to stir up a campaign of opposition to specific investment projects and, often, Australia loses good opportunities as a consequence. In the era of ‘globalisation’, managing legal matters must be in parallel with managing public perceptions and the political environment.  The team at Roberts Gray Lawyers are pioneers in managing political, social and communications opportunities and threats on behalf of clients.” Kevin Broadribb Principal: Government Relations, Lobbying and Strategic Communications