Top Toronto Lawyer Starts PR Firm

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Hansell McLaughlin Advisory opened its doors this week for business in Toronto. Four partners formed the company, Carol Hansell, head of one of the top corporate governance and crisis management law practices in Toronto, Ron McLaughlin, Peter Block, and David Scott. The three men all bring vast expertise in communications, crisis management, and government affairs.

Both Mr. Block and Mr. Scott have recently worked at National Public Relations, Mr. Block also was at Cohn & Wolfe as a national managing partner, and Mr. Scott worked previously at Fleishman-Hillard.

Ms. Hansell will continue her law practice separately, but in the same office space as the new firm. Staff from both firms will collaborate and help clients as needed. The law firm was founded in 2013 and offers help in special and crisis situations advising corporations and board. But since the Law Society of Upper Canada does not allow law firms to work for non-clients of a firm, the new HMA entity means people who are not clients of her law firm can still get the help they need whether it is from her or her partners.

Mr. Block said, “It’s the first of its kind in the country in the sense of having the combined legal and communications offerings and government relations, all as an affiliated business… We’re able to have a team of people available who can come in and advise on any legal aspects around a communications issue, or any communications aspects around a legal issue.”

Ms. Hansell confirmed that sometimes boards and management need sophisticated advice when facing complex issues and situations. These need experience and specialization in several areas including capital market priorities, investor psychology, media management, and boardroom dynamics.

This idea may be new to Canada, but it has been highly successful for a few firms in the U.K. and the U.S. In a social media driven world, when information can spread across the globe within a few hours – and there’s no guarantee the information is even accurate – having people who know how to jump in and get things under control is vital.

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