Despite projections for an economic slump in 2023, Lavery has no plans to change pace
Canadian Lawyer spoke with Anik Trudel, CEO of Lavery, about the Quebec firm’s recent rebrand. While recognizing that flexibility is increasingly central to modern work, Trudel talked about the importance of being together to promote organizational cohesion and the extraordinarily competitive labour market.
Tell me about the rebrand. What was behind it? And how did it unfold?
Our last brand exercise went back to 2014. So, it was time to refresh our image.
Especially after the two years in COVID, the fact that we’re all really proud of being part of the Lavery brand was a big motivation. But also to reflect on who we are today and our commitment to our clients.
There was also a desire to be a little bit louder and clearer in terms of our strategic positioning. So, we did a strategic exercise in 2019. And for us, our position is clear: we’re partners to facilitate the growth of Quebec-based organizations or those that do business in the province.
We also went through a complete value exercise a few years ago, and it’s also an excellent opportunity to put our values into action. Our brand needed to reflect our culture and what we stand for. The opportunity was fantastic.
A brand needs to reflect the culture of an organization. Lavery’s culture is warm and accessible. There’s a bit of a family feeling internally, but we also like to share that with our clients. So, we wanted our image to have that feeling of warmth and accessibility.
But we also wanted to be distinctive in the market. And in that respect, we did not fear breaking the industry norms.
When you look at how most law firms brand themselves, it’s pretty classic and conservative. We wanted to get off that track and be more innovative in our approach.
If you look at the logo in the signature, the Lavery name remains unchanged. But we took out the word “lawyer.”
If you go through our old logos, we’ve been carrying the word “lawyer” under our name for several years. Today, Lavery is not just composed of lawyers. We have notaries, patent agents, trademark agents, chemists, engineers, physicists – we’ve got a range of professionals.
The other thing we’ve done that we’re pleased with is we put the term: “signed, Lavery.”
That’s distinctive in the market because it’s creative and original. But it also speaks about the firm’s human side and our personalized services.
It’s also the reflection of our commitment. When you sign a document and put your signature, it’s meaningful. It means that you’re engaged and committed, and we wanted to use that as a testimony of how we feel toward our clients, stakeholders, and all the firm members.
Are there any other noteworthy internal initiatives going on at the moment?
We’re now in a bit of a crunch. We’re not post-pandemic, obviously, yet. But we’re trying to reorganize the way we work. It’s been true for the last two years, but we’re trying to facilitate people coming back to the office, knowing very well that flexibility needs to be at the centre of all the actions that we’re taking.
Last weekend, we had a massive retreat with all our professionals and partners, and we realized how crucial it is to be together. We reconnected and connected with people we’ve never met without any agenda.
We’re trying a new formula. We’ve been very flexible in our approach since last year, and now we got people to come in at least a day a week – but encouraging people to come two days a week. And it’s happening.
We’re just beginning this fall. But we’re putting a lot of energy into getting people back while respecting the fact, as well, that we’re in a new world, and there’s no going back to what we were pre-pandemic.
Are there any recent areas of growth or challenges for the firm?
Like many other law firms, we’ve been incredibly busy in the last two years. Our corporate law sector has been bustling.
We have growth right now in many sectors. But I have to say that the energy sector is booming, and it’s definitely an industry we’re investing in right now. Four years ago, we also acquired our IP group, and there are significant synergies between our IP group and our corporate group – obviously, in different industries.
These are areas, right now, that are high-growth areas, as well as everything that touches privacy and cybersecurity.
What are your predictions, as far as trends, for the next year?
We’re all pacing ourselves. At this stage, we’re not feeling any bumps in the road with respect to the economy. But I think we understand that, in 2023, there may be a little bit of a downfall in the economy.
We are investing in our growth. We’re certainly not seeing any signs, at this point, of changing the firm’s pace.
What is the firm doing to attract the best legal talent?
I’ve never seen the market as I have in the last two years.
But we’ve been – touch wood –lucky to have good recruitment, especially since the beginning of the year.
It’s a constant challenge. Number one is to make sure that people see each other. For the people coming into the firm, especially the younger generation, it’s essential to have contact with the people with which they work. So, we’re doing a big push on that. I also think it revolves around doing activities where people can meet in a more informal setting.
But we’re making sure that in the agenda on a monthly basis, there’s a lot of places where people can meet and actually get to know each other and be able to have more human contact compared to what’s been going on.
But it remains a highly competitive market. And I think the quality of the relationships built between partners and associates, and associates between themselves, is essential. That’s the starting point. And you must nourish that constantly. There are no miracles. We’re in a people business. And it starts with the quality of the relationships.
*answers have been shortened for length and clarity