From Johnny Depp To Megan Markle – The Media Law Firm Breaking With Tradition
Media law specialist firm Schillings is breaking new ground with a new reputation consultancy, designed to redefine how individuals and organizations navigate the complex world of reputation management today.
Schillings is one of Britain’s best known media law specialists and has taken court action against the press in defence of high-profile clients facing scrutiny in their personal and business affairs, representing clients likes Sir Phillip Green as well as famous figures including Johnny Depp, Meghan Markle and cyclist Lance Armstrong.
Victoria O’Byrne and George Pascoe-Watson, the founding partners of the new venture and both communication specialists, will collaborate with Schillings’ current partnership to offer clients an multidisciplinary approach to reputation management.
According to The Financial Times, both will become equity partners alongside Schillings in the new company.
Schillings has developed a partnership structure of legal and non-legal principals in the development of its crisis management work.
The move is the first of its kind for a law firm shifts focus to a reputation management firm, providing a suite of services that encompasses legal, intelligence, investigations, security, strategy, and communications.
The catalyst for the move lies in the recognition of a rapidly evolving global landscape where an individual’s or organization’s license to operate hinges significantly on their reputation, which is molded not only in the courts of law but equally in the court of public opinion.
In announcing the move, Schillings said that today’s era of heightened scrutiny, digital and privacy threats, smear campaigns, intricate reputation risks, and the ever-accelerating cancel culture phenomenon meant that the need for a diverse and extensive pool of experts has never been more important.
The official launch of the new Schillings company is scheduled for January 2024.
It aims to pioneer a fresh approach to communications, offering clients access to seasoned counsel and support during high-stakes opportunities and threats. Clients will have at their disposal a comprehensive toolbox of complementary tools delivered by an integrated, multidisciplinary team of senior experts who have held prominent positions in their respective industries.
Victoria O’Byrne has served as the communications director to the Prince and Princess of Wales, as well as for Sir Richard Branson at Virgin Group. She had a key role in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
With 24 years of experience O’Byrne has been involved in politics, public policy, business, and sports.
George Pascoe-Watson spent 22 years at The Sun newspaper, eventually rising to the role of Political Editor.
During his 14-year tenure at Portland Communications, where he served as UK Chairman, Pascoe-Watson advised leaders of some of the world’s most recognized companies.
In a statement, David Imison, CEO of Schillings, said “With the pace of technological change, intensified scrutiny, proliferation of falsehoods, and the ramification of cultural and generational fault lines, the reputational terrain has never been so complex to navigate. This new terrain requires a new map.”
“We are launching a strategic communications consultancy alongside our legal, intelligence, investigations, and security practices to offer clients world-class counsel—the first of its kind under one roof. Our integrated approach will mean that clients have the resilience they need to capitalize on high-stakes opportunities and successfully manage high-stakes threats.”