- In Practice
- In Business
- Moving On
It’s late June and they’re bustin’ out all over. Law firms’ annual results, of course. This is the time of year when City firms release the previous year’s figures for turnover (not very interesting), profit (quite interesting) and profit per equity partner (admit it: the bit you really want to know but in itself not exactly the whole story).
This year, Obiter detects some evidence of hard-nosed limited company reporting practice creeping in on the legal world. Not in terms of transparency, more’s the pity, but in spinning the announcement of results.
The time-honoured technique for getting good newspaper coverage is the ‘Friday night drop’ – a press release embargoed for Monday’s business pages, which are generally screaming for something to report. Of course, if you don’t want coverage, drop the results on Friday night anyway, but with no embargo. Unless it’s Tesco going bust, the results in Saturday’s overcrowded papers will almost certainly be a 20-word news-in-brief.
Of course, in the legal world we’re a bit more sophisticated. We’re wise to the trick of releasing dramatically increased turnover but no other figures, so that when the less-flattering full results come around they don’t get reported, or at least not extensively. We also know all about the Buggins’ turn exclusive, where the results go to one of the weekly comics in return for a good splash.
Be assured that names have been noted, along with the suspicion that the more the news management, the more likely somebody has something to hide.
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