Public relations consultants come from a variety of backgrounds: although many practitioners have studied communications, it is fair to say that all roads lead to Rome, especially for those who are trained as lawyers. Eager writers, debaters and political enthusiasts... law students and public relations students have more than one thing in common.
The study of law enables those who pursue it to acquire intellectual rigour, outstanding writing and communication skills, but above all, to develop a thorough understanding of society and its legislative bodies. This is a necessity for the practice of law, but an undeniable asset in public relations.
For the curious student, how are these two professions similar?
Often, a client will have to approach both a public relations specialist and a lawyer for the same situation. In a difficult circumstance, they will be called upon to resolve a problem and mitigate its potential impact on a company. Examples include a lawsuit, a mass layoff, a plant closure or an issue on a board of directors. On the other hand, in the case of a partnership or the merger or acquisition of companies, lawyers and public relations specialists ensure the success and positive impact of the deal.
While the lawyer is the conductor of the mandate within the legal framework researched and determined by him, the public relations professional takes care of the communication between the different stakeholders, such as employees, business partners, the government and the general public. The importance of research and a well-woven strategy is common to both professions. The lawyers' sandbox is filled with laws, and the public relations' sandbox is full of words.
In short, both professionals are called upon to solve problems, generate a positive impact for their clients, but above all, to help them grow their business and eventually reach the pinnacle of a consultant's career, i.e., to become a reliable and indispensable business partner.
From a law firm to a public relations firm, every day is the same, because every day is different. As the saying goes, law leads to everything. For my part, along with many of my fellow lawyers at NATIONAL, I can confirm that the field of public relations is no exception.