The following article was published today on Legal Technology Insider

Business Development: Mishcon de Reya in the spotlight

Kim Tasso* shines the spotlight on marvellous marketing at large and small law firms.

Let’s start with Mishcon de Reya. At number 45 in the charts and a fee income of £73m it’s one of the bigger firms – straddling both consumer and business markets, although 90% of its income derives from the latter. Its marketing fortunes changed when it appointed Elliot Moss as director of business development in May 2009. It was a brave appointment as his background was in advertising. He has worked all over the world and with some of the world’s leading brands. He also dabbles in broadcasting – on jazz fm. After several flat years pre 2009, the firm has grown dramatically from £47m revenue in 2009.

Elliot is a powerful PR weapon in his own right – he’s a much sought after speaker at conferences and open to candid interviews with both the legal and mainstream marketing media. I have written numerous blogs on the unfolding strategy and numerous campaigns. His philosophy appears to be based on a number of sound marketing principles: differentiation, positioning(It’s business, but it’s personal) and doing a few things really well. This is in stark contrast to the typical “try to please every partner and practice area” scatter gun approach we see in many firms. In his words, success comes from “singularity and focus”.

So let’s take a look at three of my favourite campaigns and maybe you’ll see what I mean:

Private client – The web site contains a neat graphic that shows the range of services for wealthy individuals. There’s a tie-up with Quintessentially (the leading luxury lifestyle group) providing an added value 24-hour, 365 days a year, global concierge service to clients. There are specialist “products” for key groups such as Mishcon VIP China and Mishcon Repute. And there is participation in organisations in key segments such as the Gay Women’s Network.

Divorce – The family market remains turbulent and challenging. But rather than participate in the race to the bottom, the firm staked its ground at the top of the market. It did this with an inspired partnership with Debretts – “the modern authority on all matters of etiquette, social occasions, people of distinction and fine style” and the publication and promotion of Debrett’s Guide to Civilised Separation.

Corporate – At the centre of the programme is an integrated marketing campaign with partnerFT celebrating the entrepreneurial nature of deals – Deals and Dealmakers. Every three months there’s a branded supplement within the paper, backed up with weekly advertisements. There is also a dedicated microsite. The FT also delivers email campaigns reaching chief financial officers, chief executives, and chief operating officers. Additionally the programme has been embedded with a training and internal communications campaign to ensure that all lawyers know what to say about the firm.

There is also a product development process for commercial legal services – with 15 products launched since 2009 including Protect for insurance, Enlighten for mobile knowledge, Enable to allow HR people to “DIY” and the Change Review for the Companies Act.

* Kim Tasso is a management consultant specialising in the professions, a freelance journalist and author Twitter: RedStarKim