Public Relations and the Legal Departments
When the organizations are threatened or even have to do with crises, there is often a tendency to head towards a legal adviser. The jurists’ worries are usually about the duties and the risk, and in the past the natural instinct was to block communication with the already legendary expression “no comment”. They show that what is said may turn against the organization and very often stress that you shouldn’t say a certain thing.
Nevertheless there is a raised acknowledgement of the fact that responsibility requires an answer and that public interest should be served by bringing information. “No comment” implies that there is something to hide and many stakeholders will perceive it as obstructive or insensitive.
Public Relations professionals are aware that expression and actions, demonstrations of sensibility, care and responsibility emphasize reputation. They value open attitudes and they want to maintain dialogue. They are also aware of the need to answer quickly to given situations – while the legal process usually takes time.
The recent tendency for the Public Relations professionals and legal advisers is to work together in difficult situations. The touchstone is nevertheless the clear understanding of the roles and the acknowledgement of each specialist’s contribution, consolidated by an open and frequent dialogue.
By Raluca Filip