Pál Keczán talked to Máté Bende
You have been dealing with the PR activities of law firms since 2011, and since 2015 you have been providing a substantially unique service to domestic law firms with Pro / Lawyer Consulting . did you graduate as a lawyer, why did you switch, why did you become a PR expert?
I was an editor at a law firm and owned products related to lawyers. Since I also had to get involved in marketing and public relations, I realized that I like it. So I went on to study and earn a second degree as a PR expert. Then I went to a legal bounty hunter to understand the lawyers and PR, I want to be a PR at a law firm. This is exactly what GIDE, a French-based international law firm in Budapest, was looking for. So I was hired and that’s where I started to get a keen insight into how law firms work as a communications and business development manager.
What was the point when you said enough of this, let’s get to work?
I was already working in another international office in the same position when I saw that no one was really doing this at home yet. In vain did the lawyer appear years ago? c. a book that also touches on office communication. So I thought if you do something like lawyer marketing almost exclusively in a country, you should start a company on it. That’s what I did, I thought I would help many offices rather than one internally as an outside consultant. It was a little enough from 10 years of working life. I can finally flash a relevant quote next to a lot of Latin, trAnzKaPHka says:
“That’s how you do it, you will have a name.
You get tired, you move on, you take it off. ”
That’s when the Pro / Lawyer brand was born. I had my logo and website sooner than my company. But I had a business plan, a marketing plan, I didn’t just resign and then it would just be somehow. Then clients started coming in, there was someone I had been working with for a long time, but there was someone I wrote on LinkedIn to talk about yesterday, here, because I might need me. We have been working with the latter client for 6 years.
In connection with Legisly, we also looked at the domestic image appearances and saw that there are similar schemes to deception. Today, the appearance of the website is allowed, but both ca. 17,000 lawyers and, if so, what’s the trend: they turn to a professional or ask a dude’s buddy to make it, which will then be just like something a dude’s buddy made for free.
On the one hand, there is the paragraph-like logo trend. If you are a lawyer, get to know it from afar, there should be a punctuation mark in the notice or logo. Even among the graphic artists who don’t know the legal market, they say, “hmmm, what do people think of the lawyer: the punctuation mark, let there be such a logo”. The problem with this is that the uniqueness and distinctive function of the logo does not remain.
Some people make a logo for themselves with an online program – several people have come to us to renovate or redraw it, because it needs a different version, a higher resolution or a little change.
The younger the lawyer or the more time you have spent in a large office, the more you know that branding is needed and should be entrusted to an expert. We also deal with it, I think we have created more lawyer logos and corporate identity than anyone in the country, but this is not our primary profile.
In connection with a website, it is much more common to have made a free one a few years ago or a relative / acquaintance, but it is outdated or no longer able to integrate features that would be needed to function as a real marketing tool. Even then they are used to searching, in this case we make the website from scratch, we do not modify the old, other work. And while I think we made the most of a lawyer’s website, that’s also not our main profile.
These are important steps in communication. Clearly, you need a brand and you need a website, I think every public relations and marketing activity on a website boils down to it. But these are just the basics, the minimum necessary to start a real business development, marketing or PR activity. Because what’s worth 20 press releases if you search for a lawyer in the name of a potential client and you find an old, non-mobile website – or maybe you can’t even find one?
How expert are lawyers in marketing and PR? By this I also mean employer and personal branding.
Not really. He who did, either has an affinity for him and read about these things, trained himself because he knew it was necessary. Or he came from an environment (big office, big company) where he learned that this is part of the legal business. Their numbers are growing, maybe also because they see in colleagues that they have a good little website or image, a lot in the media, and you think that’s what I want. Personal branding can be more important in a small office, a one-person office than corporate branding. The lawyer is the product itself, he sells himself. But it is also important for a candidate to be able to move up the ranks or establish their own practice.
Employer branding is almost exclusively the property of large offices, small ones somehow still don’t understand that candidates are currently interviewing offices. And the big offices do their best to be attractive – not just with fruit day and almond milk, but with a real career path, mentoring and vision. And with a salary that makes a living in Budapest. And most importantly, they communicate this as well.
How much stronger is the brand that deals with this?
Much. I used to give the example that Coca Cola regularly performs worse on blind tests than Pepsi, yet it sells a lot more cola? Why? Branding.
Branding helps you remember, reinforces feelings and experiences, highlights you from the crowd. And where can that be more important than in a 12,000 race.
You completed an interesting and detailed questionnaire two years ago with over a thousand responses. What did you research and to what extent was / is / will it be related to lawyer marketing?
We were at the beginning of the coronavirus then, it was back in 2020 – when we looked at the impact of the virus on lawyers and candidates. What made them get more jobs, what made them less, did the young people lose their jobs. Most of the responses were very pessimistic at the time, and not many fears were confirmed later. We also started the survey in 2021, but half as many responded and therefore preferred to blow it up. There was a lot of uncertainty and fear in the first round, plus a little outrage over the online switching of courts or the Chamber’s responses. A year later, they were dispersed so they didn’t even want to have as much of an opinion.
But we have done research on how Hungarians choose a lawyer or what the situation of lawyer candidates is. These are all available on our website.
What is the point of this area in your view?
I mean lawyer marketing? To take a step back and look at advocacy as a market service, a business with target groups, messages, business development goals and tools – and like any business, it needs PR and marketing just as much. If a lawyer steps this in your head, the steps come automatically. Or with a little help, but that’s what we’re for.
You mentioned U.S. campaigns in a radio interview, what about elsewhere?
I love the U.S. regulations, the attitudes of lawyers and the chamber there to the profession, clients, colleagues, and marketing. I wouldn’t even go into how much better that market would lie to me, I just look enviously. But it is also much better for clients to choose from an open law firm than in an environment full of constraints.
What were your 3 most successful campaigns?
With a year and a half of public relations work for a law firm, I won the special B2B communication award for Creative Magazine. It was special, however, in the year after I left, so I wasn’t even 2 years old when I won. Plus, it was called the Chili Special Prize, which was created because we got a lot out of the field, with roughly zero budget, we only achieved spectacular and quantifiable results for the office with pr tools. Small but strong – that’s why Chili became a special prize. The following year, we also won an award with a survey of the situation of lawyer candidates.
Otherwise, we rarely do classic campaigns, but we support our customers with continuous, sustainable communication. That’s why I remember more memorable things, appearances, or events. For example, when the Hungarian inventor won a lawsuit against Adidas after 17 years, and this result had to be reported in the press: From a leading interview to a TV show to the headline of print magazine. But there are also memorable Forbes interviews with customers or events, after which customers receive congratulatory letters.
Richard Susskind: Is Advocacy Over? c. his book had a serious impact on you. What do you think about offline and online solutions now, 10 years after the book’s release?
I am very proud to have been able to bring the book into the country, I coordinated the translation. They were only left out of the imprint because of the change of job. When the book was published in 2012, it was already 5-6 years old, yet it was ahead of the domestic market. We are still pretty much behind us. Offline solutions, which is mostly an event at a law firm, have been pretty much nullified by the virus situation in the last two years. And online is constantly evolving, not a single book can keep up, so we almost read blogs and Facebook groups to stay up-to-date. But the Tik-token still doesn’t come over me, unlike you…
What do you see: is bullshXt legaltech?
Partly yes, while there are also very good and forward-looking solutions. Sometimes I feel like with AI. People are not aware of the concepts or the providers are using them directly to misuse them. For example, an algorithm itself is not yet AI, yet many solutions are pushed to help artificial intelligence do that. And all he knows is that if A, B comes out. Legaltech is sometimes like that. A well-parameterized excel spreadsheet is not yet legaltech. For me, the classic legaltech was the Law Library. Some new technology that helps lawyers or provides a solution to a citizen’s problem with a right. As a fine appellant chatbot in Canada.
My last question is: what can Legisly and what advice would you give us as an external expert?
Because of the above, Legisly is not a classic legaltech for me, but a legal platform that facilitates access to law, simplifies processes for the user, and broadens the range of legal services available. The goal, obviously, is to get a lot of people out of the concept of not having to move out of the home to get legal help. I would not give advice, but your main task is to get this message across as widely as possible.
Yes, we are essentially on this path slowly for two years, but I’m glad you confirm it! It was good to talk, let’s continue sometime! 🙂