Clifford Chance set to hire first UK PR adviser

Clifford Chance, the world’s largest law firm, is on the verge of appointing its first PR adviser as the City giant shakes up its UK and international communications.

Clifford Chance head of PR Jeff Wagland said the firm was in talks with three shortlisted agencies to handle its PR.

He added that while the brief was focused on the UK, the firm needed ‘an agency able to offer us on-the-spot advice in the 19 countries in which we operate’.

Although some of Clifford Chance’s practice areas, such as corporate, have separately engaged PR agencies, this will be the first time the company has appointed a PR firm to manage its profile and reputation as a whole. Clifford Chance does, however, retain Golin Harris for PR support in Asia.

Wagland leads a team of three PROs in London with a further three in Frankfurt, two in Paris and two in the US.

PR for the firm’s main practice areas – banking and finance, capital markets, corporate, e-commerce, litigation and dispute resolution, real estate and tax, pensions and employment – comes under the responsibility of lawyers working in those specific areas.

In October 2002, the firm had to deny that it overcharged clients after a memo from its New York office suggesting that staff were under pressure to ‘pad’ the hours they spent on billable client work in order to meet targets was leaked to the press.

The firm later scrapped the controversial billing targets.

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