Teamwork and the Potomac Are Keys to Katten Success

Capital Engagement Winners Discuss Winning Food for the Bar Campaign

Katten’s marketing team received the Capital Engagement award at LMA Capital Chapter’s 2015 Your Honor Awards ceremony in recognition of their work on the 2015 Food from the Bar campaign. This month-long charitable campaign, held by the Capital Area Food Bank each May, encourages law firms and legal professionals to collect food and funds to combat hunger in Washington, DC.

Despite joining the campaign at its halfway point, the Katten marketing team, with the support of the firm’s Katten Cares philanthropy and pro bono initiative, managed to plan a regatta and raise enough food and money to provide more than 25,000 meals through the Capital Area Food Bank. They were also recognized with a Creativity Award from the Capital Food Bank and received coverage from The National Law Journal and Bisnow.

Michelle Robinson, Marketing and Business Development Coordinator, who took the lead on this unique and successful initiative, described the campaign as a true team effort.

“We knew it was too late to partner with another organization, but we have a very strong culture of giving back to the community, so we were able to get everyone, from our DC managing partner Roger Furey to staff, on board very quickly,” said Robinson. “Katten was one of the first firms to employ a partner to lead the pro bono program on a full-time basis; having that internal guidance already in place was very helpful.”

“This was a no-brainer for us,” said Furey.  “Who wouldn’t want to help with such a critically important need as feeding the hungry in our own community?  And having our offices right on the river provided a beautiful venue to help out with this fundraiser.”

The firm’s fundraising efforts included a monthly jeans day promotion and a floor versus floor fundraising competition, where team captains were chosen to rally each floor, with pizza and bragging rights as prizes. Located on the Georgetown Waterfront, Robinson took inspiration from Katten’s location on the Potomac and decided to host a regatta as well.

“We actually had the idea to do a regatta while brainstorming in Roger’s office,” said Robinson. “It looks right over the Potomac and we saw people out kayaking. From there were decided to reach out to nearby rental companies to plan a regatta.”

After securing kayaks and canoes and navigating the challenge of scheduling their race around pre-existing boat schedules, Katten hosted their regatta on May 9, with race entry fees going towards the Food from the Bar campaign. DC Real Estate co-chair John Muir and Environmental partner David Hoffmann captured the title of the office’s first regatta winners.

Katten ultimately saw more than 75 employees participate in the campaign, with more than 200 pounds of food donated and more than $10,000 raised. Robinson credits the firm’s teamwork and leadership’s willingness to be creative for their success.

“Roger’s early support of the plan encouraged others to get involved. It was really a team effort,” Robinson said. “The regatta invitations and ads our designers created helped get the word out about the different elements of the campaign, and team leads Brandon Hadley and Genus Heidary kept their floors motivated throughout our participation in the campaign.”

When asked what advice she would give to other firms hoping to take on a creative campaign, Robinson encourages legal marketers to think outside the norm and get influencers involved early on.

“Use your surroundings and take inspiration from around the office environment,” said Robinson. “Don’t be afraid to reach out to your attorneys and other leaders around the office. Our team really stepped up. We’re already looking forward to this year.”


By Ashley Stockwell, Communications Coordinator at BuckleySandler LLP for the March/April 2016 issue of Capital Ideas.

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