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Entrepreneurial marketing

Georgina MacLellan, business development manager at 4 New Square, discusses her chambers’ recently launched podcast and looking beyond the traditional marketing tool-box

Chambers has recently launched the ‘Analysis: Commercial Dispute Resolution and life at the Bar’ podcast. How did the idea of this podcast come about?

There are two arms to our podcast – recent developments in commercial law and life at the Bar. The idea was initially born out of a desire to reach our international and regional clients more frequently, especially during periods when they are unable to participate in our events. Of course, we also wanted to reach a wider audience and find a way to develop an on-going relationship with that audience. The other arm to the podcast, ‘Life at Bar’, enables students considering a legal career and prospective pupils to access information about chambers in a more meaningful way, such as to help them get a real feel for life both at 4 New Square Chambers and the commercial Bar.

What do chambers hope the podcast will achieve?

Much of the marketing barristers do is centred on legal training and education. Our podcast provides the listener with an opportunity to access useful information at their own convenience and get to develop an impression of the speakers. Marketing at the Bar is continuously evolving, and we decided to take an innovative approach in how we reach our clients, keep pace with the shift to flexible working, and the increasing integration of technology in our professional lives by providing a resource legal professionals can use whenever and wherever they wish. So far take up has been excellent, and we have had a lot of positive feedback from our clients.

In respect of recruitment, there have traditionally only been a limited number of ways to interact with prospective pupils and especially those for whom the commercial Bar appeared inaccessible. Diversity of intake is a key consideration for us as a set. We have hosted a number of successful events in chambers for students in this regard but inevitably there is only a limited pool of students we are able to reach in each with these sorts of events. The podcast allows us to cast a wider net.

The first instalment of our ‘life at the Bar’ episodes went live in October 2019. There are five episodes in total in which we interview a number of our barristers including our new silks, recent pupils, and established juniors as well as our CEO, Lizzy Stewart, and head of recruitment, Miles Harris. The episodes seek to give a frank and detailed insight into their experiences of life at the Bar, their (varied) journeys to the profession, as well as some guidance to those considering a move to the Bar, in particular what future pupils can expect from the recruitment interviews, pupillage, and tenancy at 4 New Square Chambers.

There is all too often an assumption that there is a typical barrister and a typical background to those seeking to enter the profession. We feel that this is an outdated assumption that no longer reflects the present reality or the direction of travel. We hope our podcast will help to dispel those myths and encourage prospective pupils to go for it and apply!

What further developments do you have in the pipeline?

We are in talks with a number of exciting potential external contributors – watch this space!

What advice would you give to other chambers thinking of launching their own podcast?

I am not sure that it is for me to be advising other chambers but I do think that some of the initiatives that we have been undertaking as a set will become more commonplace and that can only be a good thing for the Bar as it continues to protect its well-established reputation for excellence in the provision of legal services.

What form of marketing do you think currently works the best for a chambers?

I think there is no single form of marketing that works best across all practice areas or even in one specific practice area. That is part of the challenge. We offer a whole range of different choices for our clients, from intimate roundtable discussions and seminars at law firms, to hosting full day public conferences and events, or speaking engagements at major conference events in the UK and abroad.

What underpins all of our successful marketing activities as a set is quality and, where possible, innovation. That necessitates working closely with our members of chambers (and consulting frequently with our clients) to ensure what we are offering is as useful and helpful as possible. This applies for all forms of marketing, whether it is providing training to our clients, for example a seminar or roundtable off the back of a major recent decision in which we have acted on one or both sides, or the contributions of our members to international events overseas.

Chambers marketing has come a long way in the last decade. However, can the Bar be bolder with the ways in which it markets itself?

I am not sure the Bar needs to be bolder, but I do think we will increasingly need to look outside the traditional marketing tool-box and be more entrepreneurial with our marketing plans whilst retaining our character as a chambers. The way in which people work and how they prioritise their time is changing rapidly, which means keeping pace with technological and societal developments will remain crucial for chambers.

For more information on the ‘Analysis: Commercial Dispute Resolution and life at the Bar’ podcast, please click here.

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