NEW PREMISES brought with them a new brand for Middletons Lawyers this year, which has redefined how it hopes to be seen by clients and internally.
A new slogan ‘straight talking’ is a symbol of the attempt to differentiate the firm in the market, Nick Nichola, Middletons managing partner said in an interview with Lawyers Weekly. The firm has also claimed Mallesons Stephen Jaques’ old offices in Melbourne’s Rialto Towers, with a complete refurbishment reflecting the firm’s new image.
The new slogan is intended to redefine how both clients and internal staff see the firm, Nichola said. “Straight talking is not a statement that is usually top of mind for clients when describing lawyers,” he said.
“If you take ‘straight talking’ to a logical conclusion, it means straight talking with each other, being frank and honest with fellow partners, with colleagues — whether they be people who report to you, or people who you report to. We think it will be something that resonates with our clients,” Nichola said.
But Nichola was keen to reinforce the notion that the firm’s use of this slogan did not take away from it being a firm that provides the usual things that clients expect, such as technical competence and cost effective service.
“It is saying we think we are a little bit different, we say we are all the things that others claim to be and probably are. But where we are different is in our culture. What is our culture? That’s our people. That translates into our recruitment practices and procedures, our training practices and procedures, the way our documents are styled and read, the way we write our letters, the way we talk to people and give our advice; in these ways we say we are different.”
Many larger firms have to jostle for their space in the market as it becomes increasingly competitive for both talent in the workforce and the best work. Nichola agreed the market was very competitive for mega-firms, and a “whole plethora or mid-tier firms”.
“Everyone is trying to differentiate themselves from their competitors,” he said.
A major differentiating force for Middletons is its culture, according to Nichola. “Our services mentality is all about giving our clients the best imaginable client service experience. If we have people here who are passionate about what they do, enjoy working at Middletons because it is Middletons, then I think that reflects in their interaction with clients, in the service that they deliver, and it is a bit infectious. It sort of catches on.
“We surveyed our clients and … the thing that surprised us was the fact that you appear to have lawyers who are down to earth, approachable, and that applies to whether it is a partner, or a senior associate, or a junior lawyer. We received comments along the lines of: ‘commercially orientated’, ‘understand our business’ and ‘seem to care about our business’. What we sought to do was encapsulate that in one or two words. That is how we came up with the tagline ‘straight talking’,” he said.
Middletons had been in its previous premises at 200 Queen Street, Melbourne, for 19 years. “So it really was time for a change for us, for something new and exciting. And this is what we think we have created,” said Nichola.