Nexsen Pruet, a 190-attorney law firm based in Columbia, S.C., has launched a public relations ancillary focusing on business strategies and media communications.

Leading NP Strategy is former Nexsen Pruet chairman Leighton Lord. Its goal is to help businesses determine their growth strategies in particular markets and to assist with crisis management and other public relations matters.

Serving as senior adviser is William Wilkins, former chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. NP Strategy will not lobby or run campaigns.

Although law firm ancillary businesses such as lobbying or financial planning services are not unusual, focusing on crisis management and public relations is, said Larry Kohn, principal of Kohn Communications, a Los Angeles law firm marketing company.

"It’s smart," Kohn said. "I think you’ll see more of it as the legal market [for clients] stays tight." The arrangement will enable Nexsen Pruet to sell marketing services to its existing clients and to sell legal services to marketing clients, he said.

Lord, who continues to run a law practice at Nexsen Pruet, said firm leaders came up with the idea while working with clients who needed both legal and public relations help. He was chairman of the firm from 2005 to 2010.

Fourteen people work for NP Strategy, some with unusual job titles and job descriptions. Brenda Crout’s title is "The Glue;" public relations adviser Doug Williams identifies himself as the "Obsessive Writer;" communications adviser Roshanda Pratt is a "Project Enthusiast."

Nexsen Pruet has eight offices in North Carolina and South Carolina and was founded in 1945.

Contact Leigh Jones at ljones@alm.com.