2014 Winners: Community Relations

 

First Place

Family Law Section, State Bar of Texas

"Family Law Cares"

Summary

There are never enough pro bono attorneys in Texas. In 2011, 58,000 Texas families qualified for assistance on a civil law matter, most of them family law-related, but only about 20% of eligible cases were handled. The Family Law Section of the State Bar created Family Law Cares to coordinate and organize pro bono efforts under one umbrella. This awareness campaign assists legal service providers, bar associations and law firms to help qualified pro bono clients.

Family Law Cares - 1st Place

The goal of this project is to raise the percentage of pro bono clients being helped to 50% in five years. To accomplish this, Family Law Cares targeted family lawyers as the primary target audience, followed by lawyers in other fields. These efforts also serve two goals — “unclogging” family court dockets to speed the delivery of justice for everyone and raising the public profile of family lawyers.

This multi-level marketing project includes branding, media relations, website development, special events, email marketing, advertising, newsletter and video.

The message to Texas attorneys is “58,000 Texas Families Need Your Help.” The Family Law Section created a logo and press releases for the legal press. Then the Family Law Section developed the program’s website, which connects attorneys to pro bono clients in each Texas county. The Family Law Section planned a series of events including workshops titled “How to Do A Pro Bono Divorce” and a Family Law Cares Pro Bono 5K run. There were ads, branded emails and collateral materials followed by a newsletter and video sent to the target audience. Each element was planned and executed by Pro Solutions Group with assistance from members of the Texas Family Law Council.

By using a multi-level approach that continually connected with attorneys, the Family Law Section differentiated its message. At each special event, legal service providers signed up attorneys to accept training, take cases or mentor others.

The cost for Family Law Cares for 2013 was $84,000, but the Family Law Section offset about $20,000 by running the Family Law Cares Pro Bono 5K. Since the Section has no staff, they contributed no paid staff ours. The Family Law Section estimates that pro bono providers received as many as 3,500 hours of legal work from hundreds of volunteer attorneys.

For $64,000 in marketing, Family Law Cares generated at least 10 times that amount in volunteer billings this first year and set the paradigm for continued success in the future.

 


 

Second Place

Stinson Leonard Street LLP

"Leonard, Street and Denard Legal Clinic 20th Anniversary Campaign"

Summary

The depth of Leonard, Street and Deinard’s pro-bono service differentiates it from competitors, draws similarly community-minded companies as clients and attracts attorneys who value service. The firm’s signature project is its Legal Clinic at Community-University Health Care Center (CUHCC), one of the nation’s first legal/health partnerships. The clinic’s 12,000 patients per year experience the highest prevalence of chronic disease and illness in Minnesota because of the confluence of poverty, race and co-morbid conditions.

Stinson Leonard Street - 2nd Place

For the Legal Clinic’s 20th Anniversary, the firm sought to shine a spotlight on this distinguishing business initiative that has made a significant impact in the local community. An integrated campaign was developed to:

  1. Recognize attorney and staff volunteers who donated 102,229 hours valued at $21 million since 1993
  2. Raise visibility in the legal and business community for the firm’s level of commitment
  3. Announce the firm’s $20,000 gift to CUHCC
  4. Posthumously recognize attorney Eric Paulsrud, who died weeks before the anniversary, for volunteering more than $500,000 in time to the Legal Clinic.

The campaign included a recognition event at the clinic; collateral materials, including a commemorative program, signage and an oversized check; and a PR campaign to generate positive local press coverage in the legal and business outlets.

 


 

Third Place

Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP

"PS&H 25/25"

Summary

Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP (PS&H) commemorated its 25th anniversary in 2013. Strategically, the firm knew it wanted to acknowledge this accomplishment publically without appearing self-serving. Should it host a major event to thank clients? Sponsor a community event? Create a law school scholarship? Publish an anniversary brochure?

PS&H - 3rd Place

Since the firm opened its doors in 1988, it has always made “commitment to community” a priority. In fact, its tagline — Closer to the Issues — reflects this commitment. In the end, the PS&H 25/25 initiative was developed to recognize this milestone and reinforce the firm’s brand of commitment to community and clients through action and leadership. Each month, the firm gave 25 items to one or more nonprofits with whom it has a relationship, introducing the initiative with a broadcast email to friends and clients, which garnered numerous replies expressing support and appreciation.

This year-long effort provided an excellent opportunity to reinforce the firm’s brand identity of being community-minded business leaders and legal advisors where they work and live.