This is London – London,England,UK
… Public relations expert Mark Borkowski said the leaking of the court papers – which may have been intended to depict Ms Mills as the victim of an abusive
EVEN LAWYERS FEAR FOR THEIR REPUTATION IN MACCA DIVORCE
Evening Standard 24.10.06
Sir Paul McCartney: divorce battle has become increasingly bitter
Lawyers have launched a new bid to repair Heather Mills’s reputation after a week of lurid revelations in her divorce battle from Sir Paul McCartney.
The legal team advising Ms Mills has now turned to its own “reputation management” company to try to stem a series of leaks threatening her multimillion pound divorce claim.
Heather to campaign for battered women after claims of wife-beating
The couple’s break up has degenerated into all-out war with allegations that McCartney, 64, was violent towards 38-year-old Ms Mills on four occasions – a claim he vigorously denies. The accusations were contained in Ms Mills’s cross petition for divorce which was leaked to the press last week.
The decision to bring down the shutters is understood to have been taken by Mishcon de Reya, the London-based firm handling Ms Mills’ divorce. The leak threatened to damage the reputation of the firm – in which discretion is paramount – while also undermining her case in the law courts.
Her divorce is being masterminded by Anthony Julius, a litigator with a fearsome reputation who also acted for Princess Diana in her divorce.
A source said today: “We are trying to serve the client’s interest and it is not in [their] interest to have the matter debated in the newspapers.”
Ms Mills’ existing public-relations team, headed by the former News Of The World editor Phil Hall, is now refusing to discuss the split with all enquiries passed to another agency – The PR Office – which has represented Mishcon de Reya for several years.
A switchboard operator at Phil Hall Associates said: “We have to refer all calls on Ms Mills to Mishcon de Reya.” Shimon Cohen, chairman of The PR Office, is a “reputation management specialist”, according to its website. Mr Cohen is a respected figure in the PR world, well known for his formidable crisis management skills.
He is a former right-hand man to Tory spin supremo Tim Bell, who famously steered Margaret Thatcher to power, and has worked for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Spanish football giants Real Madrid. Hall said he had been forced to take a back seat because of the volume of interest in the case.
“We are a small team and I’m getting-35 calls a day,” he explained. Whether the stories in the media will stop is another matter. It was claimed Ms Mills wants to become “a spokeswoman for battered women” by becoming the face of domestic abuse charity Refuge or of Shelter, which helps the homeless including victims of violence.
A friend told one newspaper today: “This week has been hell for Heather. Since these court papers have come out, she’s become a nervous wreck.
“She is looking for some good to come out of this situation. The charities she’s mentioned are Refuge and perhaps Shelter which deals with women forced out of their homes.”
Public relations expert Mark Borkowski said the leaking of the court papers – which may have been intended to depict Ms Mills as the victim of an abusive partner – had backfired “spectacularly”.
Mr Borkowski said: “Things have gone pear shaped, it’s a campaign that has not been won. If they lose this case the stakes are very high for Mishcon de Reya. When people look back they will lump the blame on the team and not just one person