The 2017 Social Law Firm Index takes a comprehensive look at the top 200 law firms in the country (as ranked by The American Lawyer) and analyzes, measures, and ranks each firm’s reach and engagement across a variety of social media channels and content platforms.
We asked the top firms in each category to describe their experience and efforts in achieving success. K&L Gates achieved the number one ranking in Thought Leadership. Here’s their story.
“Think like a client”
At K&L Gates, the approach to content development can be summed up in four words: think like a client.
Years ago, Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Berardi examined how law firms typically approached client communications. He realized K&L Gates had an opportunity to differentiate its content from other firms by making it less inwardly-focused. Only by really listening to and understanding its clients could the firm sculpt its communications to meet their needs. The outcome of this market assessment was the determination that all firm activities should first and foremost keep the client in mind.
When we walk around in our client’s shoes, this much is evident: at every avenue of business, in-house counsel are facing new and often uncertain terrain. They need accessible and trustworthy information to help navigate their business. Enter K&L Gates HUB, the firm’s online digital destination for timely insight on critical issues, designed for busy in-house counsel and other business leaders.
Most law firms present their content by practice group, but HUB was structured with one key difference: an orientation around industry groups rather than by practice areas. The reason? Clients don’t see the world along practice group lines. By presenting its thought leadership by industry rather than practice, K&L Gates was able to provide content that reflects how clients self-identify. HUB provides updates across 34 industry sectors, all conveniently accessible on any technology platform. Content on HUB includes client alerts, articles, events, podcasts, presentations, and more.
Considering the immense potential of HUB, the firm further explored what other services it could provide to clients. With platforms like Netflix and YouTube reimagining the way people consume information, the concept of on-demand content has become more of a given than a novelty. The question was raised within the organization – why can’t the same be true for continuing legal education (CLE)?
Using HUB as the foundation, Berardi and the marketing team created the K&L Gates On-Demand CLE Center. Featuring more than 135 distinct courses, this resource provides an efficient way to complete CLE requirements. All programs are available to registered users for free and cover multiple jurisdictions’ requirements globally. Placing this resource in a digital space, K&L Gates provided an intangible benefit to in-house counsel: access to CLE/CPD courses around their own schedules. Since the launch, more than 4,500 on-demand programs have been completed, with nearly 2,000 individuals completing the courses.
The firm has noticed an increase in client work from customers that frequently use HUB, and 75% of user experience evaluations rate overall program effectiveness as excellent or very good. Beyond its popularity with clients, HUB has completely altered the way the firm views its marketing communications function, laying the groundwork for other successful client-centric offerings. In today’s competitive legal climate, it is clear that time-stressed corporate counsel appreciate and respond to firms offering content that is relevant, digestible, and accessible anywhere, anytime.