THE SYDNEY office of Gadens has provoked a viral marketing storm thanks to its continued practice of responding to questions about its stand at the Sydney Law Careers Fair in a flippant manner, playing on the stereotypes of how hard graduate lawyers have to work.
Responding to rudimentary questions about the firm and its hiring intentions, the firm has for the past four years responded in a unique manner. For example, in response to the question as to how many positions it will have available for graduates this year:
“We prefer to hire in bulk to account for natural attrition and burnout. This year we are taking 150 graduates in the hope of there being six or seven of them left standing by February 2008. This is more than previously because we’ve been losing them faster than anticipated. Young people today just seem to be soft.”
This year the responses rapidly evolved into a viral marketing campaign. References to Gadens and its responses in Lawyers Weekly were made in The Sun Herald as well as The Sydney Morning Herald. The story was then picked up in the UK on the news and satire legal website RollOnFriday. Soon emails with links to the article were doing the rounds.
While the publicity effect for Gadens was huge, so too was it for the rest of the firms exhibiting at the Sydney Careers Fair. The article ‘Who will be at the fair this year’ received more than 26,500 page views on the Lawyers Weekly website. Not wanting to shy away from the image it had very publicly created, Gadens last week turned up to the Fair with the banner across the top of its stand reading: Gadens very serious lawyers. Staff at the stand wore wigs and heavy framed glasses, while the stand itself was decorated with slogans and pictures on a par with the firm’s responses.
Gadens Sydney managing partner Michael Bradley said he anticipated receiving around 600 applications for summer clerkships, of which only six or seven will be successful.
With regards to the firm’s unique marketing style, he said “feedback was good” and that “it seems it made a splash”.
Asked why he thought the responses had only this year gained so much attention, he wasn’t done with the humour: “I thought it was odd. We finally decided to get serious then everyone thinks it’s funny.”
Bradley did not see the firm’s sudden international notoriety as having a lasting affect on its long-term reputation. “It’s the way email and the internet works. If people find something interesting then it tends to go very widely very quickly, but it’s more about people entertaining themselves than a branding exercise,” he said.
He added that he believed the traditional view of law firms “can be a bit overstated at times”.
“It’s not that bad, there are worse things to do than working at a law firm.”