National PR and Communications Manager

Experience level: Advanced
Term: Contract
Duration: 9-12 months maternity cover
Working hours: Full-time (9-5:30 Monday - Friday)
Team: BD & Marketing
Location: Birmingham
The firm

A leading UK law firm with a network of offices from the South Coast to Scotland, working together as one national team. An innovative practice and the first top 100 law firm to achieve “Gold Standard” Investors in People, our values and culture are not just words on our website but are the heartbeat of the firm. The lack of barriers between departments, a real lack of hierarchy, zero tolerance for arrogance and pomposity makes Shoosmiths a fantastic place to work.

The team

The Business Development & Marketing team takes much care of the firm’s external reputation, employing a number of tools to optimise our profile in the market.  Growing profitable income from clients and targets is the key aim of the national Business Development team, and they do this in two main ways, by:

  • supporting Relationships (with existing Clients, Targets and Intermediaries)
  • developing a strong brand, profile and Reputation for Shoosmiths in the UK market and overseas.
The role

To manage all external national and regional press and legal directory communications activity for Shoosmiths and its B2C sub-brand, Access Legal.

You will work as part of a strongly-integrated business development team (including digital, campaign, market research and events teams). It’s likely that you will have a hands-on drafting role for key messages and corporate comms (i.e. end of year financials), whilst supervising the outputs of a team of 3 plus a small network of regional/specialist PR agencies and suppliers on day-to-day transactional releases and content/case studies.

The key aim of the role is to work as part of a wider BD team to ensure PR and Comms is utilised efficiently and effectively as part of the marketing mix to deliver a measurable increase in the reputation and profile of the firm in specified national markets (i.e. London) and sectors/industries (i.e. Tech and Finance); as well as in areas of specialism (i.e. Privacy & Cyber risk).

Main responsibilities
  • Liaise with Divisional BD team members to provide the practical PR and Communication resource required as well as ideas and input into the marketing plans for divisions and sectors, including identifying key trade and professional media and understanding what the focus areas are for delivery of proactive PR tactics;
  • Understand the focus and strategy of the business sufficiently to know what is a priority news story and what isn’t;
  • Set up appropriate filters and alert mechanisms to ensure that the right stories are acted on quickly;
  • Within the priority focus, build effective relationships with press contacts at target media publications – including national, regional and trade media.
  • Treat the media as your clients, and dovetail their needs in with the priority areas of Shoosmiths; business, so you are able to sell in features and comment opportunities more effectively than competitors;
  • Effective line management the communications team comprising of two PR executives across Shoosmiths and Access Legal, a Marketing Executive responsible for legal directories, two PR consultants and a PR agency.
  • Manage and/or oversee the production of press releases, awards submissions and media briefing documents to ensure consistency of tone and messaging is aligned to priorities;
  • Support PR activities around the publication of Thought Leadership reports
  • Measure results and deliver reports on coverage by Division, Region or Sector as required;
  • Prepare and brief partners for all media interviews, including media training
  • Management of external contractors
  • Work with Digital Manager to support the firm’s social media strategy, ensuring that social media use dovetails in to communications strategies, reporting back to the business
  • Budget preparation, sign off and management
  • Work closely with other support teams such as Quality and Risk and Human Resources on ad-hoc projects

Work alongside the Director of Business Development in reputational management matters

Skills and qualifications

Key requirements

  • At least 5 years’ experience in a PR management role preferably at a law firm;
  • Excellent business writer, and understanding of B2B and B2C markets
  • Exceptional people management, project management and planning skills
  • Team player who can meet deadlines, prioritise workloads and manage multiple projects
  • Strong knowledge of integrated communications strategies, including directing social media campaigns
  • Ability to gain trust and act as a knowledgeable communications advisor to senior stakeholders within the business
  • In house, professional services experience desired
  • Good communications skills and highly personable – the ability to express requests concisely and courteously by email and by phone, to elicit results and collaboration required
  • Ability to inspire confidence and trust in the team and the business
  • Intellectual rigour and insight to be credible with a highly intelligent and experienced group of personnel
  • Excellent interpersonal, written and presentational skills

Experience, qualifications and other role-specific requirements

Degree or professional qualifications

Equal opportunities

Shoosmiths is a committed Equal Opportunities employer promoting equality of opportunity. This means that everyone who either applies to or works for the firm is treated equally, whatever their gender, age, ethnic origin, nationality, marital status, disability, sexual orientation or religious beliefs.