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Is freelance the way forward for lawyers?

The legal sector is evolving rapidly with law firms embracing artificial intelligence and flexible working. But are traditional law firms now facing a threat from freelance lawyers? 

Lawyers On Demand, which began in 2007, now has more than 600 lawyers. And similar businesses Axiom and Vario have also experienced rapid growth. This growth is unsurprising given that, according to recent statistics from LawCare, stress and depression within the legal profession has rocketed in the past year. 

It might be a while before we see freelance legal service providers taking on the Magic Circle, but it will be interesting to see whether the growing number of freelance lawyers continues and how traditional law firms respond. 

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Facebook lands in legal minefield over claims of left-wing bias

Facebook has been accused this week of suppressing the types of news stories that appear on its site.

It centres around the 'trending topics' box which gathers all the popular articles of the day - similar to trending hashtags on Twitter. This is viewed by as many as one in six of the world's population every day. A report this week alleged conservative stories were edited out of the box with a bias attitude to right wing news outlets. 

This has raised interesting questions about the role Facebook has adopted in users lives. It is no longer simply a social media platform, people use it as their news source and as a way to share news rather than simply checking in with friends. 

Facebook must be aware of the need to promote inclusion and of its brand as a 'social network' linking people of all types, so these revelations could be damaging to its reputation. As a global company reaching so many of the world's population there is a huge responsibility to promote fairness and equal opportunity for all viewpoints. 

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Senior Management changes at Byfield Consultancy

9 May 2016

Senior Management changes at Byfield Consultancy 

Leading legal communications specialist, Byfield Consultancy (‘Byfield’), today announces key management changes. In a deal completed last week, Byfield’s Chairman Richard Elsen has sold part of his shareholding in the business, with Managing Director Gus Sellitto becoming Chief Executive and majority shareholder.

Byfield’s launch in 2007 coincided with the advent of the Legal Services Act which opened-up the sector to external competition. Richard and Gus cofounded the agency to take advantage of this sea change in legal services by combining their market leading expertise in legal communications and litigation PR.

Richard will remain a Board member, shareholder and Director of Byfield and act as Senior Counsel to the agency. Independently, he will be developing existing interests in Africa. Litigation communications remains a core specialism for Byfield and continues to be led by Account Director Lydia Rochelle, who has been Head of the Litigation PR team for the past 18 months, working closely with Richard and the wider Byfield team.

Byfield is also pleased to announce that leading PR industry expert and former Chairman of Blue Rubicon, Alastair Gornall, has been appointed non-executive Chairman of the Advisory Board. Alastair, who founded leading full service agency Consolidated Communications in the 1990s, will advise Byfield on growing and developing the agency’s brand, client service standards and new business offering.

In anticipation of these changes Byfield has made a significant investment into developing its management team in the last 18 months. Juliet Carey, former head of financial services and professional services at Weber Shandwick, joined Byfield as Group Director in 2015 to help develop the agency’s business operations and its senior team. Together with Juliet, Account Directors Lydia Rochelle, Head of Litigation PR and Miriam Low, Head of Marketing, will form the Senior Management Team, led by Gus and tasked to drive the business forward.

Commenting on the changes, Gus Sellitto says, “Richard and I first worked together almost 20 years ago and we have remained close friends, and colleagues, ever since. We have achieved great things together at Byfield and are very proud of the clients and team we’ve built which have helped to make us what we are today. I’m excited and driven by the opportunity to take the business forward, with Richard remaining as a key advisor. As we approach our 10 year anniversary next year, I see an excellent opportunity to grow Byfield and our client base further, firmly positioning us as the communications agency of choice within our industry.”

There is increasing interest in the legal sector from new market entrants and law firms are radically having to alter their business models in the light of increased competition, pricing pressures and technological advances. Additionally, law firm clients operate in an increasingly regulated and volatile global environment. This means the need for specialist reputation management advice to law firms and their clients has never been greater.

Richard Elsen comments, “I’m very proud to have cofounded Byfield which has developed such a strong reputation within the legal industry. The agency’s strength in litigation PR is now firmly rooted within the Byfield team and I look forward to continuing to work on high profile and complex cases in my new role. I also look forward to advising Byfield on its key strategic objectives moving forward, in the next phase of the agency’s exciting journey.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Byfield Consultancy is a specialist legal communications agency founded in 2007 by Gus Sellitto and Richard Elsen.

Byfield offers unrivalled expertise in the complementary disciplines of Legal PR, Litigation PR and Reputation Management for law firms and their clients.

Byfield works with legal sector based clients including law firms, barristers’ sets, legal associations and lobby groups, third party litigation funders, economic consultancies, forensic accountants, expert witnesses, corporate investigators, costs consultants, management consultants, technology providers, legal publishers and legal recruiters.

Byfield also provides litigation PR and reputation management services for clients of law firms who are involved in litigation or other high profile risk events.

Byfield produces original research reports on issues affecting the legal market. Recent reports include ‘The Dating Game for Law Firms’ which looked at the appetite for mergers in the Top 200 UK law firms, and ‘Opening Up or Shutting Out’, which reported on the legal industry’s approach to social mobility and diversity.

For more information please contact:

Gus Sellitto: 0207 092 3988, gus@byfieldconsultancy.com

Website: www.byfieldconsultancy.com

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Invest time in sending out the right corporate message

Byfield Consultancy's Managing Director, Gus Sellitto, has written in Solicitors Journal highlighting the need for law firms to take the time to create their corporate messaging and branding.

The full article can be found here: http://www.solicitorsjournal.com/comment/imitation-sincerest-form-flattery 

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SRA looking at law firm links to the 'Panama Papers'

The Lawyer revealed last week that the SRA is writing to some law firms asking them to check whether they have any links to Mossack Fonseca.

It is clear by the media storm surrounding the information contained in the leaked documents that any link to Mossack Fonesca - no matter how tenuous - could result in reputational damage. 

Law firms need to think carefully about their internal and external messaging regarding any connection, as well as how they handle any clients' communications and reputational crises where they are implicated in the scandal. 

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