Top Women in PR: Eleanor Kerlow

Eleanor Kerlow, Senior Public Relations Manager, Hunton & Williams 

A former lawyer, legal newspaper editor and author, Eleanor is among the elite in legal PR. For more than 15 years, she has run the PR operations of several of the nation’s largest law firms. She developed strategic tech-savvy PR programs from scratch and has been go-to counsel for many firms’ top rainmakers and leaders. Managing a $1 million budget and a global team for one of the 50 largest firms, Eleanor’s strategic approach has increased media mentions in targeted outlets, helped drive new business, and made her one of the most sought-after PR professionals in the industry.

Real estate has long been a focus practice for Hunton & Williams and one of its top priority industries. However, up until two years ago, the firm lacked a real estate presence in New York, one of the most important markets and perhaps the most difficult to penetrate. The firm hired six well-known New York real estate lawyers in 2012, but it took a coordinated effort to build the team’s reputation and presence from there. Eleanor worked closely with her team and the practice leaders to develop a creative PR campaign with the goals of making the group well known in the industry trades and growing the practice. She was one of the drivers of an integrated approach across departments that involved every real estate lawyer in the firm to raise the practice’s profile. Eleanor believed: “If you build it, they will come.” And they did. There were large features in the trades and media hits went up 318% over the previous year and 831% over two years ago. The group handled bigger deals and grew from 0 to 30 lawyers in two years—exceeding its goals and building the practice of its dreams.