NEW YORK: PR firms and law firms often disagree about
communications, with PR people arguing for more talk, and attorneys for
But workplace law firm Jackson Lewis is talking to Ketchum about a
possible alliance, Chris Atkins, partner/director of Ketchum's global
corporate practice, has confirmed to PRWeek.
Atkins said discussions were delayed by September 11, but he expected to
announce an alliance agreement early next year.
"We've definitely discussed how the alliance would work, and the kinds
of things we would do," said Atkins, adding, "It would be premature to
go into any specifics on it."
Margaret Bryant, Jackson Lewis spokesperson, said no one at the firm
would comment on the talks. The 40-year-old firm has 20 offices in the
Julie Freeman, president of the International Association of Business
Communicators, said she is surprised by the concept of a PR-law
"In my experience," she said, "the aims and the mindset of legal people
are diametrically opposed to PR people. My opinion is it would be an
uneasy relationship, but it's a little difficult to comment without
knowing the nature of the relationship."
The alliance would further benefit Ketchum's two-year-old workplace
communications and change management practice, buoyed this past April
when Ketchum bought New York-based Stromberg Consulting, a management
consulting firm that specializes in change communications.
In favor of PR-legal alliances is Michael Petruzzello, managing partner
of Qorvis Communications, a two-year-old PR and public affairs firm
partially owned by law and lobbying firm Patton Boggs. Petruzzello said
the firm's ability to internally weigh legal and communications concerns
"We help our clients avoid that tug and pull where a CEO, instead of
managing a crisis, has to play referee with his different consultants,"