Like most law firms Davies Arnold Coo-per already had a brochure detailing its wide variety of services.

But the firm was frustrated by the fact that the brochure was not easily distinguishable from those of its competitors. In August 1990, DAC approached Design House to produce a new brochure which reflected DAC's open corporate style.

The result was a large format annual magazine, entitled DAC Reports. The magazine uses bright images, a wide variety of styles and features issues topical to DAC's clients, written by DAC lawyers which are intended to be informative, punchy and jargon-free.

Every year, the magazine is helped by an editorial board of outsiders – Stuart Rock, editor of The Director, and Simon Fullalove, of Anchorage Associates. A magazine team is assembled to commission articles and review ideas submitted by DAC lawyers. Once the copy has been sub-edited and approved, the designers and a picture researcher are brought on to the team.

Since the magazine was launched in 1991, the firm has received more than 3,500 supportive letters from clients in response to articles in the publication.

In winning the 1994 design effectiveness award for corporate literature, DAC was pleased that the judges described the magazine as an example of “clear, brave and forward thinking”, demonstrating the increasing professionalism of law firms in communicating with clients.

Like every other business, DAC receives its fair share of junk post. This includes unsolicited brochures which rarely contain anything of substance.

Research shows clients have little time to read professional services literature and are selective in their non-essential reading.

Perhaps this will prompt other firms to discard their old professional brochures and replace them with something more interesting?

Hamish Munro is marketing director at Davies Arnold Cooper.