Top Ten Reputation Managers
I’ve always been intellectually curious,’ the affable Mark Stephens, partner at Howard Kennedy and head of its media law and regulatory team, told Spear’s last year.
Taking a creative approach to finding solutions for clients, he explained that his expertise on reputation issues ‘came about through representing a lot of journalists who were being sued’, which led to a slew of celebrity and sports clients, whom Stephens was already representing on other matters.
‘The two things came together – they saw the benefit of having someone who knew most of the editors on Fleet Street, and being able to recognise litigation isn’t always the answer.’ His work involves learning new areas of often particularly complex law.
‘I’ve done a lot, for example, in relation to high finance,’ he says. ‘The growing area is around business and human rights as a reputational exposure for the corporation and the senior leadership.’ One recent focus was the Elon Musk case, where he represented cave diver Vernon Unsworth in his defamation case against the Tesla CEO.
As Stephens’s clients are international, with connections to a number of jurisdictions, much of his work is cross-border and he’s often abroad, which he enjoys. ‘I might claim a privacy remedy in continental Europe, because the laws are stronger and more robust, and I might do libel here, or in Ireland,’ he says.