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PR Week UK: Richard Elsen on Ashley Madison's crisis

Today in PR Week, Richard Elsen, Chairman of Byfield Consultancy and one of the leading UK reputation management specialists gives his thoughts on the far-reaching consequences of the cyber-attack on

In his opinion piece 'Is Ashley Madison's crime being caught with its servers round its ankles?', Richard argues that a heavy blow on reputation can cause serious damage to a business including its strategic business decisions.

In his view, the bigger crime is not to be ready and able to react effectively when 'your servers are caught with their trousers down'.

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Byfield is recruiting a Senior Account Manager


An opportunity has arisen within Byfield Consultancy for a Senior Account Manager to join our expanding team. You will look after a portfolio of legal and professional services clients, including leading international and UK law firms. Day to day, your role involves client liaison and counsel and generating excellent media coverage across a variety of publications and outlets including broadcast, national, and specialist media, working as part of a team. You will also help manage and mentor our executives and graduates, as well as contribute to our social media and thought leadership campaigns.


We are looking for the following:

- An all-round communicator with excellent PR & publicity, copy writing and social media skills.

- A passion for legal and professional services

- Experience of working in a press office environment, dealing directly with journalists, pitching client news and commentary.

- Preparing press releases, blogging, tweeting and article writing

- Experience in running successful events, including seminars

- Participation in thought leadership research and support campaigns

Desired skills and experience:

- A minimum of 3 years’ experience within a PR role

- Strong media relations and social media skills

- Excellent verbal and written capabilities

- Good journalist contacts

- Knowledge of legal and wider professional services sectors

- Collegiate team player


We offer a rewarding incentive package which includes: 25 days holiday per annum (not including bank holidays), free daily lunches, private healthcare, team social events and a yearly bonus.

Hours: 37.5 hours per week

Contract: Permanent

Salary: Dependent on experience

Closing date: Friday 31 July 10am

Please contact: Lorraine Gilbert, HR Manager

Tel: 0207 092 3999

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Big money financial trials to get their own court

There will be a new court in London dedicated to large financial disputes. The aim of this being to solidify London's reputation as the most prominent venue for international litigation.

The new court will be more efficient and should secure further economic benefits for the UK - if the transition runs smoothly!

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International law firms adapt to the new reality in Russia

The Russian legal market has had to adjust to the new reality against the background of continued sanctions and general economic slow-down in the country.

Whilst several of top 25 global law firms have cut back their Moscow offerings (e.g. capital markets practices in 2014) one international law firm, Kennedys, has bucked the trend by recently setting up a Russian base through an executive arrangement with a local firm and hiring of an insurance practice head.

This is apparently due to a rise in demand for insurance-related advice in the country from non-Russian insurers. Commenting on other general trends in the Russian legal market, some market players have said local legal sector has had to move towards more domestic finance and litigation work to survive in this reality.

It remains to be seen what other services will be in demand on the Russian legal market that international law firms can provide, but the news from Kennedys looks like a silver lining to this situation.

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Key challenges for Russian in-house legal departments

Alexandra Nesterenko, President of the Association of Corporate Lawyers, spoke at the V St. Petersburg International Legal Forum about the major challenges that in-house legal departments are now facing. She mentioned the following:

1.Due to the recent changes in Russian economy, heads of in-house legal departments are forced to play a role of crisis managers as they spend more time stabilising and developing their businesses.

2.One of the major issues here is protecting the business during the insolvency process as companies in Russia grow more accustomed to going into administration.

3.Russian businesses are getting “used” to and starting to adapt to sanctions. This is assisted by current changes in legislation, to make it more flexible. First and foremost, this is beneficial to Russian qualified lawyers that Russian businesses prefer over foreign lawyers.

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