From law to PR: my professional journey


This is an article by Fiona Hanna.
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Fiona Hanna

As a Law graduate who completed a Masters in Communications and PR and who began my working life in a PR consultancy, I am often asked, “Have you given up on the law?”

My answer is no – I am discovering an overlap of skills and valuable connections between Law and communications every week in my role as senior account executive at Jago.

Here are three similarities between the two professional disciplines.

Words, language and interpretation

Lawyers know that the interpretation and analysis of one word or a phrase can influence the outcome and judgment in a case.

Whether it’s crafting a media release or drafting a tweet, I also quickly learnt at Jago that every word counts. It is vital to consider every possible meaning of every word for all potential audiences. We can then carefully choose the language to seek the desired outcome and interpretation that is reflective of the overall message.

Analysis and uncovering the ‘nuggets’ of information

As a lawyer you are trained to consider all the surrounding facts presented to you in a brief. From all the information in front you, a lawyer will extract the most relevant and advantageous information that will strengthen the client’s case.

At Jago, we ask (a lot of!) questions to understand the brief and our client’s objectives and business goals. As well as painting the bigger picture, we also often uncover the ‘newsworthy’ angle, or ‘golden nuggets’ of information, to improve our strategy and campaigns.

Reputation and crisis management

When someone or some company faces a crisis, the two people on the list to call are a public relations consultant and a lawyer, and it’s important that they work together.

Libel law can be used to protect reputation. My experience of crisis management has emphasised to me how communication tactics and legal forces can complement each other to advance mutual objectives and manage issues and difficult situations.

There are many more connections and occasions when being aware of the law behind a situation has been very useful but overall I would say that both legal and communication professionals are advocates for their clients.

It is important both sets of advisers are trusted to be a voice for their clients.

Fiona Hanna is a senior account executive at Jago Communications in Belfast

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