2017 Winners - Business of Law: Firm and Practices Strategy and Planning
Morrison Foerster LLP
Summer of Law In Tokyo
Summary: Amongst increasing competition amongst firms for summer associates, Morrison Foerster’s lead recruiting partners were determined to raise the profile of Morrison Foerster's unique Tokyo summer associate program that the office has spent years building up and tailoring to provide the best associate experience to law students. Morrison Foerster wanted to help candidates visualize and hear first-hand experiences of work and life in the Tokyo office — it can be difficult for all of potential recruits to come see the Tokyo office (as compared to U.S. offices located closer to the law schools) while they are making their decision — and to better understand the unique features of the program.
An opportunity was created to engage with the press by pitching the idea to cover the unique summer program to the Nikkei Asian Review, a premier English language publication that covers global and local events for an Asian audience, resulting in an article and video published on July 31, 2015. This is innovative, as Japan does not have as well developed legal media market. Thus, it was necessary to pitch the story to mainstream media and convince them the story has wide enough appeal to publish attorneys in Japan. This is a big step forward for a firm in Japan to proactively seek out media coverage as a business tool. For Morrison Foerster, having a great summer associates program for the summer associates once they enter the firm is not enough. The firm wanted all law students prospectively looking at building a career in Japan to know well in advance of the recruiting season that Morrison Foerster is the premier location (the only, really) to participate in a full-scale summer associates program.
The video is very high quality and provides third-party recognition of the program by the Nikkei Asian Review, a prestigious publication with wide reach and penetration in the Japan and broader Asia markets. The article and video not only raises Morrison Foerster’s profile among the publication’s readership and emphasizes the time and energy it puts into recruitment and development to provide the best possible service for clients, but highlights the substantive work and extracurricular activities among law students and their networks, as many of this year’s summer associates who participated in the filming of the video shared the link on their Facebook, LinkedIn and other forms of social media. The video and article continue to have life as an easily web-searchable resource when looking for Tokyo law firms.
The office management informed the Tokyo marketing team that they would like to create a video to give summer recruits a better sense of the Tokyo office — made at the lowest cost possible. Tokyo marketing estimated that to create a high-quality video, this would be very expensive, potentially running into tens of thousands of dollars. Morrison Foerster did not have the budget to support this, especially as there was no precedent to rely on to prepare a compelling case on ROI, therefore it explored an alternative zero cost option. The firm pitched an idea to the Nikkei Asian Review (leading Japanese media), who decided to bring a camera crew with him to video record the office and hold interviews. Their angles of interest were: how early in law school the students make this big decision; how it’s a selection process for both sides; the hopes, dreams and worries of millennials; and how the gravity of business is shifting from west to east.
The journalist decided to bring a camera crew with him to video record the office and hold interviews. Their angles of interest were: how early in law school the students make this big decision; how it’s a selection process for both sides; the hopes, dreams and worries of millennials; and how the gravity of business is shifting from west to east.
- Coaching attorneys on PR and content, including deals we had acted on, all on a very tight schedule.
- Working with the Nikkei Asian Review, who edited and produced a high-quality video with attendant article.
- This was then published on the Nikkei's website (both video and article — including hard copy). Tokyo marketing subsequently entered into successful negotiations to obtain permission to post the link to Morrison Foerster's website, and to the firm’s YouTube page, and show in its New York office.
- A social media strategy was developed and executed, including postings regarding the article to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
A high-quality video was produced with an outstanding response on social media and YouTube views (as of Q3 2016):
- 6,807 impressions (the number of times an update is seen by a user) on LinkedIn (ninth highest engagement on social media in Q3 in Morrison Foerster’s rankings)
- 1,314 views on YouTube
- 181 impressions on FaceBook (ninth highest in engagement rankings for Morrison Foerster Q3)
- Financial Times third-party recognition
- In the 2016 Financial Times Asia-Pacific Innovative Lawyers report, the FT commended our 10-week summer associate program in Tokyo
- Potential summer associates had the chance to view the video by either seeing it while visiting our New York office, or through sending it to them as part of promotion efforts.
- Two summer associates were recruited directly through the video.
- Built relationship with Nikkei Asian Review (circulation of 25,000 weekly in print and 3,000,000 monthly views online — deep penetration into the Japan and Asia markets).
Morrison Foerster as a firm benefited, including the marketing and recruitment teams. Others who benefited were potential summer associate candidates, and anyone else interested in applying to the firm both in Tokyo and generally. The Nikkei Asian Review benefited by having use of Morrison Foerster’s offices, and raising their profile amongst the firm, and also by producing content that they deemed of great interest to their intended audience of business leaders in Asia.