Monday, 11 March 2013

Why Should Lawyers Enter Awards? – Part 1

This week's post is the first in a series of three about awards for lawyers, and the part they play in promoting lawyers and law firms.

The Manchester Legal Awards, which took place on Thursday 7th March 2013 – and which we were lucky enough to attend, made us think about the importance of awards, and how they can be used to help promote law firms.

These days there are any number of awards evenings, and most towns and cities have at least one set for local businesses. In Manchester, we have The Insider Dealmakers Awards, The North West Business Masters, The Salford Business Awards, The Downtown Manchester Business Awards – the list goes on.

Business awards are important as they provide independent recognition for a whole range of different things – most successful, newest, most innovative, lifetime achievement, biggest deal, most inspirational. Chosen well, and in conjunction with other PR activities, awards can help law firms to raise awareness of their existence, but also to promote specific elements of their brand. For example, a law firm that has decided to really focus upon its customer service is likely to be able to find an award which recognises exceptional service. A firm that specialises in legal aid, and which has handled a number of challenging cases is likely to be able to find an award for that too.

Awards are great because they provide multiple opportunities for publicity. Most awards events have a media partner to write about the awards in the run up to submission deadlines, on announcement of the short list and following the event.

There are at least 5 potential opportunities to raise your firm's profile if you enter and win an award:

1. On short listing – the media partner will announce the list

2. On winning – your representative may be invited to make a brief speech to the audience. If   
    you've chosen a suitable award, this should be full of potential clients

3. On winning – your representative will be photographed and may be asked for a quote.  
    The image (and potentially the quote) will appear in the media partner's coverage of the    
    awards, on the website and probably on the website for the awards the following year

4. After winning – you can cross-reference the coverage, or even better, write your own blog 
    post about the experience

5. After winning – you can use the award logo in your emails, on letterhead and on your 


If you've decided to enter awards, the first step is working out which ones are most relevant for your firm, and which you stand the best chance of winning. We'll cover this next week.

By Victoria Moffatt

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