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WINNER: Taylor Wessing

Taylor Wessing’s 24-strong marketing, communications and business development (BD) team wins this award for developing and implementing the strategy to help build the firm’s profile and presence in Tech City in Shoreditch, East London. Senior BD executives Kate Barkworth and Catherine Ducie led the project along with partner Simon Walker. The team identified a range of legal services that were important to businesses in Tech City, including company set-up and funding, protecting and exploiting technology and IP, employment contracts and share option plans. It then created an integrated campaign to promote new products, events, internet and social media marketing.

At the heart of the campaign was the opening of a dedicated office in October 2011. The team knew it had to move fast to gain a first-mover advantage. The buy-in and support of Taylor Wessing’s management team allowed it to do so in a way it believes competitors would struggle to replicate. By moving quickly it was also able to leverage relationships with central and local government bodies such as UK Trade & Investment and London & Partners to ensure its marketing strategy was aligned with their desire to promote London as an entrepreneurial centre and technology hub. One strand of the campaign that distinguished the team was the launch of the Tech Focus microsite, a platform supporting the firm’s legal activities. The firm set itself a challenging revenue target and in its first year over-achieved it by 50 per cent. “A very focused, target-driven initiative,” said the judges.

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2ND: Mishcon de Reya

The team at Mishcon de Reya has been instrumental in transforming both the reality and perception of the firm in recent years. After director of business development and former advertising executive Elliot Moss joined Mishcon in 2009, his team undertook a thorough brand positioning exercise in 2010, arriving at the proposition that Mishcon was ‘a law firm for the world of business’. This was based on the fact that, despite a lingering perception that it was a divorce-led firm, 90 per cent of its work came from businesses. However, it was also important to recognise the firm’s private client heritage, hence the firm’s endline: ‘It’s business. But it’s personal.’ The judges said: “Mishcon has been picking up a lot of awards over the last couple of years, flowing from a huge shift in perception.” The latter is largely down to the talents of the firm’s marketing and communications team.

3RD: Devereux

Tangible benefits have been created at Devereux thanks to the chambers’ new marketing strategy. The set restructured its functions internally, integrating its marketing communications with the clerking function.

Devereux believes that effective marketing communications cannot be achieved by operating in a silo and without the involvement of clerks. As such its CEO and business development manager now work closely with the clerks on all aspects of marketing communications as well as business development. As Devereux argued: “Other clerking functions are frequently labelled as purely sales and often run as such. We believe this model to be outdated and rather one-dimensional.” As one of the judges noted, the set’s efforts revealed “good integration between marketing and sales (clerks) in a traditional sphere”. The restructuring and marketing initiatives such as the launch of a new website has helped cement Devereux’s positioning as one of the UK’s top civil and commercial sets.