6 Best Legal Brands in Scotland
Let’s talk about legal firms. Who are the top players in Scotland and who have the best brands?
Since the 2008 financial crisis, there has been a distinct change of face in Scotland's legal market. Many long established and well respected firms based in Scotland were merged with larger and more sustainable businesses from south of the border and beyond.
There is room for optimism, however, with a rise in activity noted throughout the market, including early signs of recovery in the property sector in the central belt. A rise in business since the referendum outcome last year has enabled growth on a widespread scale across all sectors.
Getting your company's brand right has never been more important in Scotland's densely populated, highly competitive legal market. So let's take a look at 6 firms with different approaches in Scotland and review how their branding compares with their success.
Brodies LLP is the Scottish-headquartered law firm offering clients the largest specialist legal resource in Scotland. It has won many industry awards and plaudits for its client services, innovation, use of technology, commercial awareness and business acumen. Brodies provides business-focused advice to virtually every sector of the Scottish economy, and its client base includes companies and individuals from Scotland, the UK and across the globe, as well as the Scottish government and a broad range of public sector organisations.
Brodies LLP positions itself to undertake many different types of work. This ranges from corporate and commercial, Banking, restructuring and insolvency, Real Estate, Litigation and dispute resolution, Employment and Private client work. This variation in type of work could give the company's branding a lack of focus but Brodies manages to bring them all together using the strapline "Going above and beyond". This message is reinforced with bold imagery showing an eagle soaring over various locations across Scotland. This message is consistently featured across all forms of its digital and printed media, offering a coherent branded message to its clients which has enabled it to be awarded" UK National/Regional Law Firm of the Year 2014/15" at the Legal Business Awards.
Pinsent Masons LLP
As an international law firm, Pinsent Masons seeks to reach out to global clients and not solely focus on Scotland or the UK. Working with major international and UK corporations, institutions and public bodies, the firm has strong global credentials in four sectors: advanced manufacturing and technology, energy and natural resources, financial resources, and infrastructure.
The branding used by the firm emphasises the globalism of the business and its worldwide appeal, strong images showing locations around the world along with a section of the website dedicated to Pinsent Masons involvement in regions across the globe. You may think that size of the company and focus on worldwide reach would inhibit its advancement in a competitive Scottish market. This has not proven the case however as Pinsent Masons has been ranked as the most popular legal brand in Scotland by the country's most senior company lawyers. This popularity in Scotland can be shown in its increase in ranking by 6 levels in 4 years (on a UK level). This impact in Scotland has been aided by the merger with the well-respected brand McGrigors, who had a strong presence within the Scottish legal market.
Maclay Murray & Spens LLP
Maclay Murray & Spens LLP is a forward-looking, practical, commercial legal firm whose main priority is providing its clients with the best possible service across the broad range of legal advice provided by the firm. Their strong reputation in Scotland has stood them in good stead whilst competitors have taken part in mergers or been taken over by other firms. Their client focused outlook has given MMS a solid message across all sectors that they undertake work in. When it comes to branding, this message is emphasised by engaging imagery and language on the website. This is continued over both digital and printed media channels. Along with the impactful use of imagery, there is a defined brand colour scheme that remains professional but not overly corporate, offering an approachable appearance.
The skills developed by the firm over the years and the commitment to meet and anticipate both corporate and private client’s needs, gives Maclay Murray & Spens LLP its competitive edge. Clients are given a comprehensive legal service with an added personal touch, proving their branding matches the service provided.
Burness Paull are a major top-tier independent commercial law firm, who serve a domestic and international client base from Scotland. Winner of "Top Scottish Legal Firm 2013" it has a strong reputation which is backed up by a distinctive and well-known brand. With an attractive digital presence using a vibrant and impactful colour scheme and fantastic photography, this offers a modern and professional feel to their branding which stands out against their main competitors. Working across all sectors of the legal market, finding a way to focus their branding over all of these could have posed some problems, however Burness Paull manage to remain coherent with their brand across the board which transmits a strong message of consistency and strength to their clients.
As a large multinational law firm with offices around the world, CMS are well known and highly respected throughout the legal industry. When they merged with one of the top legal firms in Scotland, Dundas & Wilson, in 2014 this provided clients with deeper expertise in the three key financial centres of London, Edinburgh and Glasgow, and in its energy capital, Aberdeen.
As a large and global company, CMS remain fairly corporate in their approach to branding. They do not have anything that particularly stands out as a branding style, apart from the well-known logo on a plain background. This reflects the corporate and professional outlook that the company appear to have, with less of a focus on individual clients and rather more on the size and scale of their worldwide reach. This less personal outward appearance has not affected the business in anyway and with continued growth throughout every sector around the world, this corporate branding style is clearly working for CMS.
DWF is an award-winning UK law firm with a national reputation for client service excellence and effective operational management. They have offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow after merging with Biggart Baillie LLP in 2012 and have been described by market commentators as "blazing a trail". Independently ranked 1st of all top 20 law firms for the quality of its legal advice, and joint 1st of all national law firms for its service delivery and responsiveness, DWF have a clear connection with their clients and this shows in their branding.
With an extremely attractive website that uses on trend design features like video and infographics, this shows that the company is agile and able to change with their client’s needs. A friendly and welcoming message with a "How can we help?" call to action feature further enhances their web offering for potential clients. This client focused branding strategy is having a positive impact upon the business with national acclaim and multiple titles awarded to the firm.
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