Empty promises

Tulkinghorn remembers the days when law firms would tell his colleagues on the news desk absolutely nothing. “We are a partnership,” they would shout, every time an intrepid young reporter asked them about, well, anything at all really.
Tulkinghorn understands that some regional law firms are still slightly behind the times in this respect. So how refreshing that Southport conveyancing and personal injury powerhouse Barnetts has decided to gain a modern edge in becoming more open with the press. Like a true commercial business, it has just sent The Lawyer information about its last set of financial results and it has instructed leading PR agency Freshfield to guide it through the publicity maze.
“One of the North West's fastest growing commercial law firms has crowned off a hugely successful year after revealing stunning end of year figures,” the beautifully-crafted press release cries in its opening lines.
The press release then goes on to say that Barnetts has increased its turnover by 110 per cent in the past year. It also reveals that the firm has spent £1m on ICT (which is what local councils and primary schools call IT, Tulkinghorn understands) and is moving to a new £3m office next year.
However, the press release neglects to tell The Lawyer what the figures actually are. Barnetts' turnover, profits per partner and fees per fee-earner are sadly missing from the promotional material.
But Tulkinghorn has no intention of starting yet another debate about the pros and cons of PR – he would simply like to know the figures.