Roll the Credits

Roll the Credits – Law Firms Pull Out All the Stops at the 2015 Expo

By Mary Ann Rojas – Pugh, Jones & Johnson, P.C., Chicago, Illinois | Submitted on behalf of the Marketing Best Practices Committee

I have attended five annual conferences since my firm joined NAMWOLF in 2011, and it has amazed me to watch the evolution of the Law Firm Expo. At last month’s Expo in Hollywood, attendees engaged in lively conversation while food simmered and drinks flowed at eye-popping booths with clever giveaways. What was once a reserved gathering of lawyers standing at tables handing out pens has now become the event of the Conference.

As a member of NAMWOLF’s Marketing Best Practices Committee, I’m sure my colleagues would agree that firms are beginning to step out of their comfort zones. It is ironic that lawyers who are required to think outside the box when it comes to legal solutions have been slow to show their originality when it comes to the Expo. Well, I’m happy to report that gone are the days of brochures and mints arranged in formation on the tables.

Earlier this year when one of my managing partners and I were discussing our theme for the Expo, he hit the nail on the head when he said that the greatest thing we can hope to achieve at the Expo is to be remembered—to stand out from the other firms. And stand out we did. Our Star Wars-themed booth complete with Chewbacca and Darth Vader definitely drew a crowd. One in-house counsel summed it up after the Conference when he said that he asked his wife if the photo we took of him and Chewy could be mounted on their mantelpiece. Mission accomplished.

What better way to draw visitors to your booth and keep them there then to create an oasis of relaxation. Bush, Seyferth & Paige’s on-site chair massages offered visitors a little welcome relief in the midst of a chaotic Expo. This is an excellent example of the powerful draw of providing something beneficial to visitors and a great way to keep them at the booth much longer than the average passerby. Nice work, BSP.

And who doesn’t love to take a chance at spinning a Prize Wheel? Kuchler, Polk, Schell, Weiner & Richeson offered visitors the opportunity to take a chance to win a variety of great giveaways. Interactive games are always a crowd pleaser, especially when your firm has its very own Vanna White (Laci Roth). Everyone walks away feeling like a winner. Booyah.

Visitors to Rusing, Lopez & Lizardi’s booth walked away with a mason jar filled with nostalgic toys, including a Slinky, Play-Doh, a yo-yo, a superball and more. Vintage toys and games are always popular, whether you once played with the toys yourself or like to collect them.

Actually creating something special for your visitors can be a big draw. Combine that with a great takeaway and you hit the jackpot. If you visited Thacker Martinsek’s booth, you were able to both observe a caricature artist at work and take home a cartoon picture of yourself. I’m sure a few now sit in the offices of in-house counsel.

Talk about novel—I would venture to say that we’ve never had a giant goose at the Expo! The Goosmann Law Firm’s cheerful display also came with a very unique giveaway—dog toys! It’s all about making an impression, and Goosmann nailed it this year.

Perez & Morris showed their creativity and their perfect timing with a football-themed booth, complete with AstroTurf, stadium blankets, beverage holders, and footballs. The firm also offered to ship the stadium blankets to save their visitors the inconvenience of transporting them home. Nice touch!

First time attendees, Roig Lawyers, brought the South Florida flair by providing Cuban coffee, a refreshing spin on the Miami Vice cocktail and tropical flavored cupcakes such as guava, key lime and Dulce de leche.

Each firm has about 10 seconds to draw in the typical passerby at the Expo. There’s no time to talk about your great professional credentials or high-level of client service. And realistically, after visiting about three tables, this has to be mind-numbing for in-house counsel. What you can do in those few seconds may make all the difference and you don’t even have to say a word: show them a little creativity and let them see your fun side.

There were many other creative booths at the Conference this year, and I suspect that this will only continue. Lawyers and law firm marketers are a competitive bunch. Next year’s conference is in Texas and I can already smell the chili simmering in the crock pots. I wonder where I can find a John Wayne impersonator.

Game on law firms.

Mary Ann Rojas is the Office Administrator at Pugh, Jones & Johnson, P.C., a minority-owned firm with offices in Chicago and New York.