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How can law firms promote thought leadership on legislative changes?

As of April 6th the law changed to allow any employee from the first day of their employment to request permanent changes to where, when and how long they work. More than that employees can now make this request up to twice and year and an employer must decide within two months and provide rationale for why if they choose to reject the request.

As you would expect, because these changes impact every business and worker in the UK, it’s a topic that has been covered at length in the media. And according to Google Trends the term “flexible working” was searched more between 7thApril – 13th April 2024 than it has been for the past five years.

So, for employment lawyers looking to raise their profile it was a prime opportunity, right?

Well yes, but it’s also a sensitive subject and one that was hugely competitive in the media. Making the most of opportunities like this requires planning in advance, as well as a sensitive approach so as not to alienate potential clients on either side.

So how should you approach this kind of opportunity?

Know who you’re talking to

While many firms offer support for employers and employees they tend to have a preference. Make sure to communicate with your PR team so they’re clear which potential client group you’re hoping to engage. If you’re targeting an employee audience, your PR team will likely pitch tabloid newspapers, broadcast media or even other consumer titles which have Q&A style slots. Whereas, if you’re looking to target businesses, and engage C-Suite or HR leaders, they’re more likely to pitch broadsheet national papers and a mix of trade title relevant for this audience, where there’s more opportunity for longer form explainer content.

Give clear guidance and insight

Legal changes of this scale that impact so much of the population are always of great interest to the media, but that means you’ll be up against a whole host of other lawyers pitching to the same journalists as you are.

To stand out from the crowd it’s essential to have a great pitch. These should be short and sweet, and give clear and tangible insight and/or a solid opinion. For example, if your goal is to reassure employers, make sure that comes through clearly in the piece – this example from Clarion, in The Times does this well.

Journalists won’t take comments that they think are too vague or don’t add anything new to the existing conversation, so make sure that you have something new to bring to the discussion.

Get ahead of the game

Any employment lawyer worth their salt has been advising clients on these up-and-coming changes for months, as they were initially floated back in December 2023. This means your PR team should have had plenty of time to develop a strategy and get ahead of the story before the changes came into force.

Your PR team should be able to advise on when to pitch different journalists, expected lead times, as well as the different types of content different publications will be looking for so that you can prepare ahead of time, to ensure the coverage goes live at the ideal time when the media and reader appetite is at its highest.

The recent employment law changes are just one example of the types of stories that law firms can and should be making the most of. Changes to legislation are always a key media moment, and choosing a PR partner that can capitalise on them is key.

Get in touch with the team