I spent last Friday in a film studio at the top of a concrete stairwell in Clerkenwell trying to make City lawyers feel good about being manhandled by tattooed video artistes while distilling years of hard won cutting edge legal expertise into ninety seconds to camera.
And they rocked it. Even our Russian sound guy bringing the room to silence by muttering “I will kill him…” in his best McMafia accent (in response to a delivery driver having the temerity to slam his door shut while being near enough to be picked up on the sound reel)… Nothing phased our ace presenters (from some awesome law firms and barristers – check out our site for new context next week!).
This is all a bit different from two years ago: the M&A team at Clifford Chance, and the special beauty of Canary Wharf by dawn, again.
Like most lawyers, I am pretty risk averse. So, Crafty Counsel has been a case of allowing myself to take one step, finding it feels ok, then taking another. A first step from Clifford Chance into a Corporate Counsel position at an e-commerce start up (but a “start up” well funded by private equity and venture capital – risk averse, like I said). Then, setting up a blog for in house lawyers to find out about legal seminars in London. Then a weekly (ish) email to said in house lawyers. Then a chat with a film maker friend from university turns into a business planning session. Then a chat with a web designer. Launch of the website in October 2017 with our first videos from Linklaters, Clifford Chance and others. And then, somehow… Clerkenwell on a Friday in January, persuading three Associates to shout “keep it Crafty” while punching the air.
So where are we now? Three months after launch, we’re building a site designed to be the “secret weapon” of in house counsel. Bite sized videos you actually want to watch, with snappy, relevant content from the best in the legal profession. We’re the only platform really designed from scratch for in house counsel. Our 90 second one-take videos are designed to be a great way to get a quick overview of a new topic; to remind yourself about the key points of something you haven’t thought about for a while; and to quickly snack on several morsels of legal updates in one sitting. They also offer a very immediate impression of what it’s like to work with a given external lawyer (so you can try before you buy).
Crafty Counsel has a mischevious tone, but we’re here with a serious purpose. In Law, training and the sharing of knowledge seems somewhat stuck in an analogue world when you look at the websites many of us use on a daily basis, like Ted Talks and Khan Academy. We’re making a site which is built around three pillars: the needs of in house counsel; letting law firm lawyers shine; and putting video first. We’ve got enormous respect for the incumbent Legal education businesses, but we do think our approach brings something a little bit different.
The beauty of starting a business whose core products are free 90 second-long videos is that it is very easy for someone to try the site and see if they like it! If you can spare a minute and a half, do check out the site.
Ben (Founder, Crafty Counsel)