I'm enjoying getting to know Katie Tibbitts, the new PR executive who's just joined the Mayer Brown comms
team. With four years experience under her belt working with law firms, she knows her way around the "idiosyncracies of a parntership decision-making structure" and has been able to hit the ground running, which is good news as she's now working with one of the busiest, most ambitious comms teams in town.
Over drinks at The Hospital Club we talk about how lucky she is working under the leadership of Helen Obi. As regular readers of the blog will know, I've known Helen for some 10 years and rate her as one of the
very best in her field, famous for setting creative and challenging targets for herself, her team and the wider firm, so being a brilliant person to learn from. To give just one example, she talked in The Conversation last year about videoing interviews with clients to impress upon lawyers the importance of knowing what really matters to customers).
Katie joins from South East regional firm Thomas Eggar so is finding life at City giant Mayer Brown interesting to compare. We talk in some depth about how experience in the different corners of the legal marketplace can enrich the PR advice you are able to give any law firm [or barrister] client.
"It's fascinating for me to learn about the global piece, how changing markets around the world shift the emphasis of work and marketing activity inside a big international law firm. At Thomas Eggar we had to be just as close to our chosen markets of course, attuned to what clients needed and sensitive to how that changed as markets change. It's just that those markets are different. And the culture of each marketplace is quite distinct also. In the regions there's a greater crossover between people's commercial, social and personal lives. Obviously with global business this doesn't play out in quite the same way. As I'm learning the new market dynamics of Mayer Brown's business, I'm fascinated to spot the differences and see the similarities compared to a much smaller law firm covering Sussex and Surrey."
I've often said if you asked me to swap Kysen's client portfolio for one generating twice the income but from only eg four Magic Circle firms, I wouldn't blink before turning the opportunity down. What I love most about our portfolio at Kysen is the sheer variety of work, giving us insights and opportunities to learn across the entire breadth of the profession, from global firms such as Mayer Brown, international commerce giant Holman Fenwick Willan, Italian firm Bonelli Erede Pappalardo, to niche players like Brecher, regional firms such as SA Law; opportunities to understand how solicitors work differently from barristers representing Serle Court, 7 Bedford Row, Hardwicke, etc, also working for legal associations FOIL, ELA & LSLA; business associations supplying to the legal profession such as IP valuation specialists Intangible Business, and so forth.
Katie has made some smart choices in her career to become a specialist, with deep knowledge of the sector she's chosen to work in. I like her approach and the way she is thinking about her new opportunity. She's a smart operator. It's clear she'll go far.
I was in heaven this week at the St Albans Film Festival, courtesy of our good friends SA Law who are headline sponsors. The widow of great man of cinema Stanley Kubrick, Christiane, is a local and she launched the Festival one year ago. Bizarrely, St Albans has no cinema! But the organisers turned this to advantage, making a virtue out of the need to find alternative venues. So for the inaugural event this year we were treated to a screening of Hitchcock's The Birds in the city's cathedral. How atmospheric! We were also treated to a special celebrity guest appearance from the Harry Potter cast: Hedwig. I heard that over the bank holiday weekend Jaws will be shown in... yes you've guessed it... the local swimming pool, viewers invited to swim during the film... if they dare!
Thanks SA Law for a fabulous fun-filled filmic evening! Spectacular hospitality. You're definitely keeping your reputation for doing things differently!
Hats off to Honey de Gracia for taking up the Live Below The Line challenge this week. This Global Poverty Project is designed to raise funds for charity (Honey chose Child Hope UK) at the same time raising awareness of the word's poor. Did you know there are over 1.2 billion people worldwide living in extreme poverty, which equates to 20 times the population of the UK. That's not a typo: I did say 20 times. Shocking. Honey's food and drink budget has been limited to £1 a day (defines the poverty line) for five days. Those of you who know her will be well aware she's "barely there" already, she's so diminutive. Her feet have been known to leave the ground when out with an umbrella on a windy day in Covent Garden. Thankfully, she's remained healthy and not lost any weight (she couldn't afford to!) We've been keeping a close eye.
Well done Honey! If you'd like to support her, you can make a donation here.