Lawyers often get a bad rap in the media and on TV (“Better Call Saul!”) and the public perception is still replete with images of ambulance chasing and sharks circling. Many of our clients are lawyers and law firms and in our experience they are anything but self-serving. On the contrary, many actively sponsor conferences and public information initiatives that are devoted to giving back to their communities and supporting important programs or research that benefits their clients and ultimately the public.
Aside from the intended positive results from engaging with your communities, activities like sponsoring bursaries, participating in annual charity drives and taking action on community development initiatives both locally and internationally all serve as ways to reinforce your brand presence in the marketplace. Your brand it what people think about when they think about you. While you cannot dictate what people think, your actions go a long way toward telling people what kind of firm you are.
Does it hurt to keep the firm logo top of mind with a logo or an icon in sponsorship materials…no. Does this undermine the sincerity of their efforts? I would argue also no. We all contribute to the betterment of society in our own ways and I think letting people know what you are doing to make the world a better place is an effective way to communicate something about your firm culture (and about who you are as individual people).
Great client relationships are often kick started by the discovery of common interests. This requires sharing information about the people that make up your firm. Letting clients know that you are a firm that takes a stand against child poverty, or is committed to cleaning up the environment, or is trying to make a difference in the third world are all ways of building bridges and finding common ground. Those shared bonds improve comfort levels and lead to the establishment of the trust and mutual respect that are the hallmarks of strong and lasting lawyer-client relationships. Further, you never know where your next file is going to come from…it may well be from someone who noticed you sponsored the canopy keeping their kids dry at a soccer game or from an international business person who toured a development project you helped to sponsor. What goes around, comes around.
Recently we received a request from one of our clients to let people in Vancouver know about an upcoming benefit in support of one of their chosen projects. We are delighted to advise you that on Thursday, September 26, 2013, Project Somos is holding a benefit here in Vancouver in support of The Project Somos Children’s Village in Guatemala. For those of you who don’t know, Project Somos is the subject of a new Canadian reality TV show on OLN called “The Project Guatemala” and a very exciting development project aimed at creating a self-sustaining children’s village for Guatemalan orphans. This project is a labour of love for Joe Fiorante, Q.C. a founding partner of the law firm Camp Fiorante Matthews Mogerman and actively supported by his partners.
The Grand Fiesta will include a special screening of The Project Guatemala and music by Latin jazz and salsa band, Rumba Calzada, salsa performances and a live auction.
Finally, if your firm is thinking about how to give back there is a new initiative tailor-made to get you brainstorming about the kinds of projects or initiatives that would be a good fit for your firm. It’s called Giving Tuesday and it will kick off as an annual event (think Black Friday and Cyber Monday) starting this Tuesday, December 3, 2013.