THE MIRROR
A frightful man enters, and looks at himself in a glass.
“Why do you look at yourself in the mirror, since you can view yourself only with displeasure?
“The frightful man answers me: “Sir, in accordance with the immortal principles 0f ’89, all men have equal rights; therefore I have the right to behold myself; with pleasure or displeasure, that concerns only my conscience.”
In the name of common sense, I was surely right; but, from a legal standpoint, he was not wrong.[i]

“Advertising and lawyers” could be easily the title of a sensationalist postmodern Baudelaire’s text. The poète maudit‘s work is known for its contradictions: the sublime vs. what is mundane, the superficial vs. the philosophical reflection, the objectivity of Law vs. the individual idealism.

“Lawyer advertising continues to labour under bans and restrictions because, let’s be honest, we find advertising a little unseemly”, admits blogger Jordan Furdlang in his advertising for lawyers post, stressing the complexity of developing marketing strategies and actions in the legal sector[ii]. Legal marketing faces many specific challenges that are intimately connected to a wrong perception of what marketing is –often related to superficiality and aggressive commercial speeches- and to the contradiction it represents when associated to the tradition and necessarily discretion of legal practitioners.

[iii]

However, within an industry that is deeply transforming itself -due to the dynamics of the demand- things are changing -and very fast- and I think that these challenges are what makes legal marketing so exciting and interesting.

Finally, as Baudelaire’s verses help to remind us, all these contradictions are in fact surprisingly harmonic combinations, and what seemed to be superficial and mundane, is actually way more complex and coherent than we thought at first sight.

I take this opportunity to share some lawyer’s – some good, some not so good, and some pretty “mundane”- ads that demonstrate that:

1. Legal marketing is –as any other activity sector- proportionally heterogeneous to the segmentation of its targets and to the nature of the services offered;

2. Probably in anglo-saxon cultures the openly presentation of a law firm as a business is less shocking than in our Latin culture;

3. It is indeed possible to produce great campaigns in the legal sector;

4. And that maybe advertising is not the best solution for all the firms. Advertising requires a very important investment, and as in any ATL campaign, the campaign’s concept should be translated into several mediums in order to reach an effective impact.

90 second spot by Quality Solicitors. Personally I consider that even if the concept and the production are excellent, the result is not the best one…

Chicago divorce law firm –excellent- campaign

Corri Fetman Divorce attorney Corri Fetman unveils her new advertising campaign on mobile billboards June 7, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. Fetman's previous campaign featuring a fixed billboard with the same tagline 'Life's Short Get a Divorce' but different titillating photos was removed by the city after one week.}

Mishcon de Reya is one of the most innovative firms in legal marketing terms (actually his marketing responsible was awarded last year for his exceptional work: from advertising to associations with a Jazz radio station or a fashion blog, and many other business development tools brought directly from the medias):

Rap and 3d –hilarious- ad:

“Brown & Crouppen : Muscle, Talent, Results”

Saw this in NYC subway:

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Recently a local law firm is promoting its services in front of my office via an immense advertising billboard. I have not been able to take a photo yet. Therefore, I post the example below meanwhile: