Firms need 'proactive' approach to lobbying

EXPENSIVE, cautious and reactive are the criticisms levelled at law firms working in the public policy sector by a selection of the UK's top companies.

A report by the NOP for clifford Chance reveals that companies believe lawyers need to become “more proactive and politically aware” if they are to realise their full potential in the expanding area of public policy services and political lobbying.

But lawyers score highly on monitoring current legislation, the report describing their attention to detail and technical ability as “second to none”.

Formal political lobbying is being seen as a growth area by big City firms, with Lovell White Durrant launching a rival political lobbying service to pioneers Clifford Chance earlier this month.

“The survey will help us push back the boundaries for the legal profession,” Clifford Chance partner Richard Thomas says.

“American firms are very involved in this kind of activity. We're less concerned with trying to achieve a complete U-turn in government policy, than with refining the way a policy is implemented.

“It is less about wining and dining cabinet ministers than providing senior civil servants with detailed briefs.”

NOP interviewed a selection of senior managers from The Times Top 1,000 UK companies.