Paul Kitson

Paul Kitson Departmental Marketing Manager

Overview

Marketing legal services at Burges Salmon is a second career for me. Many moons ago I took my degree in law at Cardiff University. I subsequently came to Bristol to work in house for a financial services company in its legal team, moving through the ranks to become legal manager and deputy compliance officer and ultimately, company secretary. Although I reported to our group head office in Australia, sadly I was not called upon to make any work-related trips to Sydney. When my job was relocated to Peterborough in 2001, I decided to let it go there without me.

I wanted to stay within the law but was looking for a new direction that would allow me to remain in the great city of Bristol that had become my home. Professional services marketing and business development seemed like a good option.

In my previous job, I had actually instructed Burges Salmon on a fairly significant pension scheme merger, with the result that I (and my board of trustees to whom I was secretary at that time) had the benefit of fantastic support and advice from Tim Illston. So I knew Burges Salmon quite well and was therefore delighted when they asked me to come and take up a position in their marketing team.

Although there is a certain reticence in professional services about using the word 'selling' when it comes to marketing legal services, it has been said that 'people buy people'. So you could say that our job in the marketing and business development team is to help our people sell themselves in the legal market place or perhaps, more particularly, to sell the knowledge and expertise that they have built up through their professional lives.

My role and that of the BD team, is to help our partners and lawyers showcase their depth of knowledge and breadth of expertise. Our challenge is to remind our existing clients and convince potential new clients that we are the right people to advise them on their legal needs. Much of our time is therefore spent supporting the formal pitch and bid activity that goes on around the firm. The last decade has seen a major shift away from simply shouting about how good we are, to focusing on and identifying what our clients or potential clients want from their legal advisers and then describing how we would meet that requirement. We are still selling the services of the firm but in a more sophisticated, client orientated way.

Aside from working on bids and pitches alongside partners and senior lawyers, there are many other jobs that cross my desk which relate to marketing the firm and to enhancing our brand as an independent UK law firm delivering the best mix of advice, service and value – something which we feel sets us apart from our competitors.