Do law firms have a branding crisis?


An experiment carried out by a PR professional and two leading Universities revealed that the branding of some law firms is so bad, that they are less likely to be recognised than made-up firms.

The study was carried out amongst 50 business managers, who were asked to choose a law firm to do business with, based on the branding and publicity with which they were presented. Amongst the choices were six law firms – three real and three fake. Results revealed that most business managers were more likely to go with the fictitious firms, suggesting a lack of awareness of the real firms.

Authored by PR professional Nicolai Rossen in partnership with the universities UPF Barcelona and Stirling University in Scotland, the results suggest that the lack of presence means that new, more PR savvy law firms could have the edge over the competition.

Like many established industries, law firms may feel that they don’t need publicity.  They rely on reputation and word of mouth.  However, while both are of intrinsic importance, they can only go so far.  Reputation is built over years, and can be damaged by just one bad case.  Word of mouth, though a powerful tool in the arsenal of any business, is finite, passive and largely out of a business’ control, as they are relying on someone knowing someone.

When law firms don’t be proactive and simply hope that work comes their way, they risk being drowned out by competitors who make more noise about what they do.

After all, the basics of PR – thought leadership, reputation building and brand development, are what make a law firm – or any other business – stand out in their industry as a leader in their field.  Doing good work is great, but being seen to do good work is even better.  Relying on recommendations, though a great source of business – simply won’t do.

By showcasing work, commenting on legislation that is on the national agenda, and generally adding value to the online and offline legal conversation, firms can build a reputation that is worthy of their work.  This will not only reassure existing clients, but it will introduce them to new contacts and bigger audiences.

Halima Khatun

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