Law firm thought leadership update

Periodically, I scan the media for information about professional service firms thought leadership. Here is a summary of some notable developments – law firm thought leadership update: Davitt Jones Boult, Howard Kennedy, DLA Piper, Moreton Fraser and Stephens Scown. 

Davitt Jones Boult (DJB) – Legal real estate boutique (Homes to the High Street)

DJB is a 21 partner (46 lawyer), four office law firm with a £3.6 million turnover (8% growth last year). As well as claiming to be the “largest specialist real estate law firm in England”, the firm is unusual in that the lawyers concentrate on client work whilst marketing/BD and other non-chargeable activities are undertaken by a team of 40 staff.

Already WFH (“modus lavorandi”) before Covid struck, the firm’s advice on remote working is almost becoming another specialist sector. It has been consulted by two large surveying firms and has been quoted in Property Week (one of the two UK leading property magazines) on the subject.

Post-Covid, it focused on the nearly moribund High Streets and organised roundtables with local authority leaders and property developers. A report “Build Build Build – But What, When and WHY?) was produced and mailed to 6,000 contacts in a newsletter and posted on LinkedIn. Follow up is recorded in the firm’s CRM.

The campaign – focusing on the idea to move homes into the High Street – is the centre of a campaign (led by the Business Development Manager and an external PR agency) that will lead marketing efforts for several months.

They also have DJB Connect where clients who have the authority to buy, sell and influence can meet one another online. It is also extending its in house seminar series to include around 60 local authority legal and property team clients. Four events took place through lockdown running at or near capacity of 350 attendees.

The original article appeared in PM Forum magazine (Winter 2020) 

I wrote about DJB in September 2017 – its innovative training portal which is available to real estate lawyers and surveyors

Howard Kennedy – Lockdown, work and relationships

In September 2020 the firm’s family and employment teams commissioned YouGov to undertake a nationwide survey into how lockdown has affected work and relationships.

It followed similar research undertaken in 2019 on how relationship breakdown affects higher performing individuals (the research was shared exclusively with the Sunday Times). The 2019 research was conducted alongside Marriage Foundation, Soulmates Academy and The Relationship Foundation.

The 2020 research – with 2,092 respondents (964 male, 1,128 female) found:

  • 66% in committed relationships had been positive about their relationship since the Coronavirus pandemic
  • 33% in committed relationships stated that Coronavirus pandemic has had a positive impact on their work life balance
  • 67% said they thought employers should provide more flexible working patterns – 55% wanting fixed WFH days and 52% the option to WFH
  • 38% thought employers ought to contribute financially to support those working from home and 35% thought employers could help with childcare post-lockdown

The head of business development worked closely with head of private wealth BDM and the BDMs working with employment teams. They ran two think tank roundtables presenting the results. YouGov provided specialist software to help look for correlations in the data. The Digital Communications Manager led the design process for reporting and infographics and used PR agency Maitland.

The original article in PM Forum magazine (Winter 2020) 

DLA Piper – What In-house Lawyers Need (WIN)

As part of its What In-house Lawyers Need (WIN) programme, DLA Piper surveyed inhouse lawyers around the world – focussing on its existing client relationships. Obtaining 200 responses – the majority were senior inhouse lawyers – and in-depth interviews from three business hubs around the world.

Key findings included:

  • The inhouse lawyer role was considered more strategic than it was before the pandemic
  • 70% felt their team was either very effective or extremely effective at continuing to add value to the business while working remotely
  • 90% felt their organisations managed the health and well-being of staff well or very well in the initial stages of the pandemic
  • Most expect to work from home more often and have more virtual meetings in future
  • The majority foresee a decrease in both internal and external legal budgets in the immediate future

The project was supported by senior partners. They ran a tender process for an editorial agency and Grist won (Grist was mentioned in a previous in the November 2020 thought leadership update). The firm’s regional M&BD teams, key client and sector representatives and Communications and Content Manager led the project which included:

  • 183 joining the live launch on Zoom – including results presentation, discussion and interviews with three clients
  • 670 report downloads
  • 90 new registrations to the WIN community

Regional teams in Europe, Australia and New Zealand ran regional campaigns using the global content.

The original article appeared in PM Forum magazine (April 2021) 

Moreton Fraser – The Hazy Coffee Shop and Welcome to Clarity campaigns

Moreton Fraser is Scotland’s oldest law firm. Its original 2018 campaign “Welcome to Clarity” was designed to bring clarity to advice, discussions and costs targeting SMEs and individuals.

In 2019 it launched “The Hazy Coffee Shop” campaign :

  • Goals: reach the business community, engage with prospective clients (especially on LinkedIn) and acquire new clients
  • Turning dull, everyday moments into arresting moments of clarity and research indicated that video content was required
  • Engage commuters on a busy location in the heart of Glasgow, obtain raw materials for a TV advert and deliver an engaging video – a three-month campaign
  • Internal buy in and engagement with Clarity vinyls on staff toilet mirrors using an attention grabbing and unusual internal communications method
  • Created a pop-up coffee bar and humorous scenario – capturing people’s reactions and frustrations with hidden cameras
  • Many activations – the stunt led to a video and 30 second TV commercial on Sky AdSmart – supported by video advertising for two months
  • Complementary hero PR campaign in national business news and a thought leadership platform for the CEO
  • Thunderclap moment video on social media channels with partner organisations
  • Six digital sheet screen ads in the business district of Glasgow – coffee shop menu with misleading prices
  • AdVan campaign showing the video
  • “Always on” social media campaign – 40 organic posts including interactive quizzes and nostalgic images of the firm’s heritage
  • Target direct mail drops sending pouches of coffee beans
  • Campaign had a reach of 2.06 m – enough to reach every private business in Scotland six times over
  • Pre and post campaign market research to ask people to name their top five law firms – Morton Fraser’s position improved to second
  • Increased level of calls via ResponseTap and Google My Business visits
  • Campaign also being used by Edinburgh University legal diploma

The original article appeared in PM Forum magazine (February 2020) 

Stephens Scown – Employee advocacy of thought leadership

An article in the June 2021 edition of PM Forum magazine by Stephens Scown  talked about the importance of teaching lawyers how to share and create content – including thought leadership – on LinkedIn so that they become effective Brand Ambassadors and Employee Advocates.

Key points of interest included:

  • LinkedIn Champions who receive regular updates and links
  • LinkedIn Stars who act as digital role models within the firm
  • They found a direct correlation between highly shared articles and posts and higher rates of web site enquiries
  • A partner producing weekly videos with links to articles receiving enquiries and work through these channels
  • The firm is consistently ranked in the Top 10 for the UK and Ireland’s Most active Law & Legal Professional on Social” list by DSMN8 (an independent ranking organisation)

I also like their client video lounge – featuring client stories.

UK legal thought leadership league table

The Passle 2021 thought leadership index places UK law firms as follows:

  1. Kingsley Napley
  2. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
  3. Linklaters
  4. Taylor Wessing
  5. Burges Salmon
  6. Slaughter and My
  7. Lewis Silkin
  8. Irwin Mitchell
  9. Osborne Clarke
  10. Mishcon de Reya

 Related articles on thought leadership campaigns

 Professional Services Thought leadership update – ( November 2020

nine reflections on thought leadership (2019) professional services ( September 2019

Property marketing case study – Integrated campaign on farmland value ( April 2019

Thought leadership campaigns and project management Eight Essentials ( September 2018

Accountancy marketing case study – MHA ( June 2018

Thought leadership, campaigns and project management ( January 2018

accountancy marketing case study – Haines Watts ( April 2017

Business development writing for lawyers ( July 2016

Thought leadership manual by Tim Prizeman ( June 2016

10 steps to create a business development campaign ( November 2015

Thought leadership campaigns – the basics ( January 2012