How to Celebrate a Law Firm Anniversary


Question:
I am responsible for publicizing the fact that our firm will be 50 years of age. Does any one have any bright ideas about what to put in a press release and how should we celebrate the anniversary apart from holding a formal dinner? Are there any other ways of thanking our staff and clients? Can we do something different?

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Author: Wendy Leibowitz wendytech@earthlink.net
Subject: 50th Anniversary 

I think celebrating 50 years with 50 acts of charity (some financial, and some in terms of donated legal time to an organization — hospital, school, local museum) would do a lot to signal that your firm has been a good corporate citizen over the years and a valued member of the community. If 50 is too many, then choose ONE organization (say, a founding partner’s law school or favorite cause) and help it in fifty ways, displaying the varying talents of your firm — painting a wall, donating books to a local library, lecturing for free at an adult education class, or asking local non-profits to come to you with a legal problem and donating an hour or two to advise them.

I remember one firm gave away 50 turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner and wrote it up on their Web site in a hilarious and self-deprecating way (“With only slightly more meetings than turkeys, our lawyers — with assistance from spouses, families and clients — managed to give away the birds, with only three turkeys dropped, and of those, only one landed on a lawyer’s foot. No lawsuit ensued, though the matter was discussed.”) There were many acts of charity that year, but that one still stays in my mind!

If your powerful lawyers really are opposed to a Web site, then my advice — gasp — is don’t push it. But perhaps put up a static, ceremonial page to run in March, listing the major accomplishments of your firm over the years and how you hope to build on them. All members (and don’t forget staff!) can sign the page, and it can hang there on the Web like a commemorative scroll. Can’t hurt — might unite people. If you put photographs on the page, everyone will look. (Especially if you allow photos to include children and pets).

Wendy R. Leibowitz
Legal Technology Columnist
Editor, E-Filing Report
1140 23rd St. NW
Washington, DC 20037
http://www.wendytech.com

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Author: Kathleen Bray KSB@hanftlaw.com
Subject: 50th Anniversary

To follow up on this thread, and Wendy’s post in particular, we used that idea successfully for our centennial anniversary two years ago. Every month for a year we gave a gift to the community that typically had a “100″ theme in it — e.g. 100 dog and cat collars to the local human society, 100 plants and flowers for a local community park, 100 passes to the local arts museum for use with the Big Brother/Big Sister program, 100 children’s books for local transitional housing programs, 100 pairs of shoes and boots for the “Shoes for Tots” program, and ended the year with the Salvation Army’s Adopt a Family program (the last gift which has become an annual firm tradition now).

Everyone in the firm liked it and could find something they identified with — there were gifts reflecting our wide range of interests, clients and community investments. There was a lot of opportunity for lawyer and staff participation each month, and it was a great way to extend the celebration year-long. We also received some nice PR through local and state-wide business and legal periodicals.

Kathleen S. Bray
Attorney
Hanft Fride, P.A.
Duluth, MN 55802
ksb@hanftlaw.com
www.hanftlaw.com
(218) 529-2427 (direct)

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Author: Sheila Baker sbaker@craryhuff.com
Subject: Re: 50th celebrations

We celebrated our 100th anniversary in 1996 and did the following:

Group picture in front of our building with a banner in the background stating 1896/1996 Celebrating 100 Years — picture and articles appeared in local paper. The banner stayed up on the building all summer.

We created a Firm Cookbook of favorite recipes handed down over the years — gave it out to all our clients — it was a huge hit.

Had a celebration for about 600 clients on the Riverfront in Sioux City under a dance pavilion – food, entertainment, a lot of networking. Introduced all attorneys to the crowd and thanked everyone for their support over the years. Weeknight, summer party, starting at 5:00 PM. All staff wore corsages.

Also hosted a separate party for members of the local bar. Changed our letterhead and mouse pads to include centennial insignia.

We also posted our first website in 1996, we’re on our third generation now, West Publishing is currently putting it together for us.

Sheila R. Baker
Director of Administration
Law Offices of Crary, Huff, Inkster, Sheehan, Ringgenberg,
Hartnett, Storm & Jensen, P.C.
Sioux City, IA 51102
www.craryhuff.com

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Author: Dusty Donaldson DDonaldson@wcsr.com
Subject: RE: 50th celebrations

Our firm is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. We commissioned an author to write a hardback book chock-full of photos that gives the firm history from the perspective of community and business developments, focusing on our longtime clients.

At receptions in each of our offices, every lawyer and staff member received a copy of the book, along with a bookmark that included a message written by our managing partner thanking the staff for their contributions to the firm. In addition to distributing the book, everyone received a paperweight that featured the firm’s special 125th logo.

Although the anniversary would not normally be considered newsworthy in itself, it can (and did) help in pitching a profile or feature story about your firm and the activities of your lawyers.

Dusty Donaldson
Communications Specialist
Womble Carlyle
336.721.3774 p
ddonaldson@wcsr.com
www.wcsr.com

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Author: Pamela W. Joyce pwj@starkey-law.com
Subject: 50th celebrations

Your press release should mention the anniversary, detail a brief history of the firm, cite a few landmark cases, and name any or all founding/significant partners.

However, why not turn the anniversary into a great marketing opportunity? By all means, do something different. Beginning in January, place ads in the most prominent local publication every week?leading up to the grand finale in March. For instance, you might have ads featuring a different staff person and a message from the partners thanking her/him (always mentioning the upcoming anniversary) and then, in March, take out a full-page ad thanking clients for the 50 years.

Or, use humor. Place your most regal (read stuffiest) partners in party hats and have the copy read: What do the partners at ABC Law Firm have to celebrate? Lead up to the answer several ads later. If you don’t care to market to the public-at-large, market to your existing clients. Send out the same kind of printed message every week, leading up to the invitation to the formal dinner (ho hum) celebration. Or, send clients gold “keys” to the law firm engraved with your name, logo and anniversary date on one side and “Thank You” on the other.

Or, how about hot-air balloons?or?oh well, I could go on all day?have some fun with this.

Pamela W. Joyce
COO, Starkey Law Group, PC

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Author: Lynne Wingate LSWINGATE@sablaw.com
Subject: Re: 50th celebrations

Our firm celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1999. To commemorate this event, we produced a video on our Sutherland’s history. This video was distributed to all lawyers, staff, recruits and long-time clients. The tape has an incredible shelf life and we are still using it today for new attorneys and clients who want to learn more about our firm.

In addition, we created a special 75th anniversary logo that we used on all business development and marketing materials prepared throughout the year, including our Web site. We developed an anniversary ad that we ran in several legal and regional publications.

We did not hold an anniversary event for our clients but our annual partners meeting was a pretty large event. In addition, we concluded our anniversary celebration with the firm’s holiday parties in our Atlanta and DC offices. We gave each employee a clock with our 75th logo and we prepared a short presentation recognizing employees who have been with the firm for more than 30 years. Surprisingly, there were quite a few!

Lynne S. Wingate
Marketing Manager
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP
404.853.8240 (direct dial)
lswingate@sablaw.com
Web site: www.sablaw.com

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