No fear at Square One Law.
A law firm has wedded advice about being a good solicitor to jazz poetry, with challenging results.
Square One Law's maxim is "listen first, pivot quickly and think creatively", according to the opening frames of its new promotional film.
The Yorkshire firm certainly thought creatively about art direction, as evidenced by the ensuing two minutes in which a performance poet, Lerato Azula, performs an ode to Square One's ethos while dancing to arrhythmic drum breaks.
The avant-garde piece begins by projecting the firm's slogan across Azula's face.
"There is...an enemy", she begins. "That enemy is fear".
"Fear of breaking traditions. Of being expelled from the old boys' club", she specifies.
Viewers may be struck by the implication that the enemy of a young black woman could be the fear of being expelled from an old boy's club, but there is more cognitive dissonance to come.
"Fear of appearing new. Truth is, law and regulations are complex", she continues.
The pivot to regulatory law commentary may seem jarring in the context of percussion-accompanied free verse and interpretive dance, but that's jazz.
Square One's open mic night gets even more demanding when the poem adopts a hectoring tone about professional standards. "But being a good lawyer is...not!" admonishes Azula. "Not if you listen."
"Think. Share your ideas. And actively avoid being limited by conventions, fearlessly", she cries to the beat of the drum, delivering lines which might have been lifted from an underperforming associate's review.
"Don't just list out legal options! Or process legal outcomes. Show your hunger", she implores, "For the business".
Azula lends impressive depth to the kind of motivational slogans lawyers are subjected to at away days, and earns every penny of her fee during the climax, which appears to have been drawn from a word association game played by HR.
"Be the go-to person. Initiate. Shape. Strategise", she recites. "Stand tall. Side-by-side. Watch their back. Create new opportunities".
"That's how we create connection", concludes Azula. "Build relationships. Understand a problem. Take it on without fear. And solve it." The performance ends with the drummer exiting an empty stage, leaving the audience to reflect upon what they have just witnessed.
Speaking to The Business Desk, Antonio Bachini, the creative director at the agency behind the ad, explained, “We wanted to show the world just how fearless Square One Law are, so we looked for a fearless way to tell their story. Jazz and spoken word poetry ticked all the boxes”.
Ian Gilthorpe, Square One’s Senior Partner, agreed: “I was totally engaged when Antonio explained great musicians are talented, but not all can play jazz, and in a similar way, there are many talented lawyers, but they don’t all think creatively or deliver the same bespoke service as Square One Law”.
Congratulations to the very un-square Square One Law for staging its recruitment brochure like a Gil Scott-Heron concert. If you've seen a law firm take similarly out-there approach, get in touch.
In-house lawyer? Take ROF's survey and have your say:
On the one hand, good to see a firm doing something different. On the other hand, excruciating.
slightly worrying that a law firm's website would not allow you to reject non-essential cookies. Fairly basic stuff there
I knew Roll on Friday would one day feature Square One Law, but this isn’t what I expected.
I quite liked it. Not sure what that says about me. Probably all bad things.
The smacks of a calculated and revengeful move from a brilliant marketing team who is entirely fed up with running zero-ROI events and having to explain the same basic shit to lawyers every day; only then to be asked to design a ‘one pager’. Good on them 🙂🙂🙂
So is not being scared now one of Square One’s core values?
If so, that’s to be welcomed.
Though I'm very far from clever
I could talk like that for ever:
Fail to plan
Plan to fail
It could mean
A man in jail
Not just a shared beverage
Clients will be happy when
You explain things concisely to them
Populate your client list's bareness
With improved commercial awareness
Not just for making teas
They really want to please
So let them draft a lease
Good lord, I'll have a pint* of whatever Square One's marketing committee are drinking.
I feel confused and disoriented just looking at the end result. Imagine what the actual designers must have been going through.
*on second thoughts... possibly just a half.
Reminds me of that French cinema Mr Plow advert.
"Was that your commercial?"
"I don't know."
I don't understand jazz and i don't really understand what i have just seen.
But I like it!
like the bit about having your back...
Jazz poetry in a law firm …. Who’s the Square One now?
There is a chasm as wide as the grand canyon between that advert and what we as a profession actually do day-to-day.
I had a feeling this might get featured on here when I saw it...!
I like it - as she states, 'Break tradition.' Be different, be a disruptor. Best of luck to them.
I wonder how much due diligence Lerato Azula did before accepting?
Is Square One known to be a pleasant firm to work at?