Herbert Smith Freehills head of communications Tom Rose hangs up his BlackBerry today, and heads for the Spanish sunshine.
A large number of former colleagues turned out this week in London to say goodbye to the PR guru after 20 years running the media operations at two of the world’s largest law firms.
Tom joined Clifford Chance in 1994 from the accountancy world, and oversaw the communications function at a time when Clifford Chance was the most exciting law firm in the world.
In 1999, Clifford Chance merged with Frankfurt’s Pünder, Volhard, Weber & Axster – the first major merger between a UK and German law firm – and then again with US-based Rogers & Wells – a groundbreaking UK-US combination at the time.
Tom went on to Herbert Smith in October 2001, where he became indelibly associated with the litigation powerhouse.
Tom gave me a job in 2004, and I was his #2 in the Herbert Smith communications team until 2006.
I learnt a huge amount.
When I joined the firm from legal directory publishers Chambers, I made the mistake of thinking that because I knew a lot about the legal market, that the transition to legal PR would be a walk in the park.
It wasn’t: the learning curve was steep.
But Tom led by example and was a mentor to me and many others who were keen to make our way in the industry.
Tom operates in the shadows, and doesn’t like being the story himself, so he won’t like the attention.
But it feels like the end of an era for someone widely regarded as one of the market’s best legal public relations exponents, and a man synonymous with the growth of the legal PR discipline throughout the 90s and 00s.