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I found Chapter 7 in Sietel’s “The Practice of Public Relations” to be fascinating. It was interesting to read about the relationship or tug-and-pull between the law and public relations. The two have so much in common, yet so many differences at the same time. The book begins by discussing the natural tension that has evolved between the two fields, and the distinct differences in goals that have led to such strained relations.

There is a major difference that separates lawyers from public relations practitioners (check out this link if you’re a Comm student, its pretty helpful). Lawyers advise their clients on what they must do to defend themselves in a court of law. Public relations practitioners, on the other hand, counsel their clients on what they should do to defend themselves in the court of public opinion.

Public relations professionals, in some ways, must be just as knowledgeable about the law as lawyers are. They must fully understand the legal implications of everything they do the PR world. A public relations practitioner must be proficient at weighing both legal and public relations aspects of an issue before making a decision.