An experienced marketing consultant, Dan Ross, said something worth pondering. He spoke about law firm brands at the conference two weeks past at Georgetown University’s Center for the Study of the Legal Profession. Ross said that customers often choose a brand because of how that brand helps define the customer’s self view. You mean, Dan, I subscribe to the Times Literary Supplement because that flatters my self-image as erudite and cosmopolitan?
Perhaps so. On this reasoning, a general counsel might retain a name brand firm not just because it has excellent lawyers with much experience but because it bolsters how the general counsel feels about herself: “I’m a Bigge, Goóde, & Branded type of GC!” It stokes the GC’s amour proper” “BG&B’s impressive reputation rubs off on me!”
Fragile egos can purchase a bolster. Our emotional drives influence us much more than we acknowledge even as we invest our time and money in what outwardly looks like a rational choice. One could expect larger companies to retain larger firms, therefore, and not just because their legal issues are more knotty or their global reach more stretched. It may be that deep down in the individual lawyer’s psyche there glows pleasure that rubs off from mingling with stars. My Bentley is me.