Business owners see their reputations threatened not only by the media but also by individuals who have vested interests – such as competitors and former business partners. It’s an area that Christie-Miller has seen grow. ‘Our world used to be about dealing with what the newspapers and the TV said,’ he explains. ‘Now our world is much more about dealing with longer-term issues.’ Schillings’ chief executive officer specialises in defending the privacy and reputation of prominent individuals, particularly from former Soviet republics and the Gulf region, and says these new threats mean lawyers need to anticipate problems. He often sits down with clients to identify where attacks might come from. ‘It’s more consulting than litigating,’ he says. Yet ‘often there are legal-only remedies that need to be taken’.
As well as working with private individuals and celebrities, the solicitor works with corporations, brands, and public figures, notably in the world of international business and politics. Much of his focus is international in nature, dealing with a globalised media and its myriad interpretations. However, he’ll often also be advising clients on threats to reputation and privacy that emanate from non-media sources. Sometimes these can be especially disconcerting, as they are so close to home: private staff, disgruntled business partners, or those with an active and malicious agenda. In such instances the chief executive and managing partner says the ability to offer practical legal advice at speed is vital.