CAMPAIGNS: Curtain rises on a new legal act - Corporate PR

Raising a company profile is a common brief for PR consultancies, but in the case of the City law firm Withers Solicitors, the team it retained opted for something a little different.

Raising a company profile is a common brief for PR consultancies,

but in the case of the City law firm Withers Solicitors, the team it

retained opted for something a little different.

After careful consultation, Withers Solicitors agreed to allow the Spada

PR team to market them through a variety of ’real life’ plays reflecting

and dramatising their own work.


To underline Withers’ professional experience and, in the long term, to

raise the company’s credibility and profile in specific legal areas.


The plays were between 25 and 30 minutes long and were usually the main

event in an evening hosted by Withers.

The subject matter itself aimed to give an objective view of issues in

areas which the law firm considered to be its speciality. The plays

covered subjects ranging from negotiating management buyouts and

contract design management (CDM) regulations governing building sites

and the problems which arise when developers try to cut corners, to more

recent issues such as complexities about publishers’ concerns arising

from problems to do with selling their products across the internet.

The target audience consisted of professional intermediaries. For

example, the MBO play focused on management contractors and corporate

financiers, while the CDM play targeted contractors and property


Spada originally helped Withers to create a human interest element

within each plot, develop the characters and write the script, but as

time passed the law firm has become more familiar with scripting and

developing the plays itself and Spada’s PR role has become that of

consultant and director.

The partners and lawyers play the roles themselves, although

professional actors are hired from time to time.

The plays have also been recycled and one of the first plays, which was

on MBOs, became a touring roadshow, performed more than 30 times at

various venues around the South-East. There are plans to turn the latest

play into a radio tape available for potential clients who are unable to

attend the plays or presentations in person. In order to get clients to

the MBO roadshow play the agency used the Chamber of Commerce mailing

list to send out invitations to a free seminar evening. For the CDM play

Spada marketed the firms in question directly.


According to Spada, the plays were originally designed to be a ’soft

sell’ tool but the performances were credited with generating pounds

800,000 of new business over the two-and-a-half year period when the MBO

roadshows were being shown.


The plays were conceived with a long term objective in mind, the idea

being that after viewing a performance, the ideas would remain in the

minds of potential clients who would then get back in touch with Withers

at a later date.

So far, it has been successful in generating new business and raising

clients awareness of certain legal issues. The idea of using drama as a

PR medium has proved to be an original way of making use of human

resources within a professional law firm. It also proved successful in

keeping the law firm’s brand alive in the minds of clients.

Client:Withers Solicitors

PR Team: Spada

Campaign: Withers Play Cycle

Timescale: 1992 and ongoing

Budget: pounds 5,000

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