Lawcast 216: Clare Rodway, MD of Kysen, on PR and marketing for law firms
Today I am talking to Clare Rodway, managing director of Kysen | Professional Services PR. Public relations, reputation management and putting the message out is as important to law firms as it is to any other business. Clare Rodway and her team have built a good reputation in the legal sector. Our discussion was wide ranging – the meaning of PR, the distinction between PR, marketing and advertising and the value of social media and blogging to law firms.
Clare Rodway also writes her own blog – The Conversation: an interesting concept based on conversations she has had with lawyers and others that week.
Clare describes her blog thus:
The idea behind The Conversation is to do exactly what it says on the tin really – to capture some of the most interesting conversations I have in the course of my work. One of my clients once asked me, “What happens if you don’t have any interesting conversations in a week?”! I was stunned, because I can’t think of a week that has gone by WITHOUT fascinating conversation. More often I have difficulty choosing which one conversation to highlight above others. His comment made me realise that perhaps I am quite privileged to meet so many interesting people and be privy so many original ideas and thoughts.
Part of it, I’m sad to say, is a function of age. Quite simply, I have been around a long time: more than 20 years in the legal profession in marketing and PR roles – 12 of those in-house, in four different law firms, and 5 of those studying part-time evening for an LLB. So my network goes back a long way and includes solicitors, barristers, academics and journalists covering almost every corner of the profession.
Hobby horses are marketing and communication strategy as you’d expect, and linked to that ‘legal market change’; I also have particular interests in human rights (we have close links with Amnesty); City and financial regulation (something’s got to be done!); and anyone with anything new to say in the field of dispute resolution, whether in the context of personal or commercial relationships. I also have a passion for the arts, particularly film, and this sometimes seeps into the blog.
I had lunch with Clare recently – and she has written a brief account of our ‘conversation’. I would like to point out that working with Charles Prior, then CEO of BPP Holdings PLC, which led to the founding of a continuing education company and, subsequently, BPP Law School was a most enjoyable experience. I sold my interest in the continuing education side as part of an agreement to work with BPP Holdings to set up BPP Law School and break into the GDL and vocational training (LPC and BPTC) sector. BPP Law School has gone on to be one of the leading law schools and, I have no doubt, will continue to do well under the present team. One further ‘correction’ – I have declined honorary awards; one this year and two last. While the offers were kindly made – I am not a fan of honours or awards, but I am always delighted when others receive them.