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Law Society launches cheesy ad campaign to alert punters that solicitors do law

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Latest wheeze from Chancery Lane prompts a look at the marketing gurus’ clichéd view of lawyers and the legal profession

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It may be in a state of tenuous flux — with a stand-in chief executive and a membership struggling to understand what it’s for — but the Law Society still bags a bucket load of points in the game of stating the bleeding obvious.

The body that represents the nearly 128,000 practising solicitors in England and Wales yesterday launched a £400,000 consumer campaign specifically aimed at reminding the public that lawyers provide … er … legal advice.

Just in case those trundling along on the upper deck of the Clapham omnibus were slightly confused and thought that solicitors’ firms were purveyors of fine fruits and vegetables, Chancery Lane has clarified the point.

To do so, the society’s marketing team has briefed outside consultants to produce a clever campaign that will remind “the public to use a solicitor for legal advice instead of unregulated providers”.

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Brace yourselves for advertising hoardings cropping up around the land screaming:

“Use a Professional. Use a Solicitor”, which, according to the society “encourages people to tap into the expert knowledge of regulated and insured Law Society members, whether they are buying a house, going through a divorce or setting up a business”.

The campaign — which will run until early next year — is destined for on-line media, such as ITV Player, and railway station and bus advertisements. Solicitors will also be able to use campaign images to create their own Blue Peter-style marketing materials. It coincides with yesterday’s other launch from Chancery Lane — the SolicitorHour hashtag on Twitter, a platform for any law firm that fancied to promote that that it too provided the odd spot of legal advice.

All well and good. The solicitors’ profession will be grateful for the boost, especially those in traditional high street practice, which is increasingly under the competitive cosh from not just those unregulated providers, but from increasing numbers of alternative business structure law firms, which also include Law Society members — but that’s a discussion for another article.

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Indeed, Law Society President Andrew Caplen, who is a consultant at a high street firm in Hampshire, predicted the campaign would give punters:

“The assurance you are dealing with a professional who is properly regulated and insured. The growth of unregulated and do-it-yourself legal services means consumers are exposed to non-professional advice, which can be more of a hindrance than a help.”

But couldn’t the Law Society have coughed up a few more shillings on the artwork? Using what appear to be stock images downloaded from copyright-free internet sites signals obvious penny-pinching (posing the question: what does one get for 400,000 notes these days?).

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The latest campaign invokes some tired old standards — a “You’re fired” Post-it note, the not-so-blissful married couple perched on wedding cake and something health-and-safety-orientated to symbolise personal injury.

Perhaps we quibble unfairly and perhaps the bucket-shop approach to marketing will be effective without being hugely costly to the profession.

At least it’s given us an excuse to assess the impressions photo agencies have of the legal profession. Search for “lawyers” and “law firm” on the site of top agency Getty, and the clichéd and stereotypical returns will provide an entertaining five-minute break from time recording.

We kick off with two chaps looking as though they would be happier on the rugby pitch.

Sharing a laugh over a deal agreement clause. Or is it something else …?

Refelctions — the sensitive lawyer, clearly cogitating on a few stanzas of poetry.

Now remind me, as solicitor says to client, you were doing what with the hoover?

Why did I go into global legal practice? Oh yes, to be able to pose with pukkh fountain pens.

Explaining electronic mail to the senior partner.

Unrealistically tidy desk.

And, of course, a man in a chicken suit. But which one is the lawyer?

Trainees — little beggers are always getting under foot.

Er … lawyer or auctioneer?