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New York associates who gripe about the long hours at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft might be surprised to find that the firm is luring laterals in London with promises that recruits will play as hard as they work. The pitch? A print ad campaign centered on the image of an ice-cold martini. Jane Evans, who manages marketing at Cadwalader’s three-year-old London office, says the campaign was designed to attract lawyers put off by American firms’ slave-driving reputation. “We wanted to signify evening drinking with the cocktail glass,” she says, explaining that the firm is not encouraging worktime carousing. “We could have put [in] a pint of beer, but that’s not what we’re about — drinking 20 pints at work.” The office does, however, serve beer and wine at its Friday happy hours. Londoners “don’t really drink martinis,” observes Mathew Lyons, editor of Lex, an English magazine for law students. He views the martini as an apt symbol of New York, with a “cachet of sophistication, glamour,” that the more pedestrian ale or merlot lacks. Brand-building campaigns like Cadwalader’s reflect firms’ realization that “to present themselves in a very staid and old-fashioned way is not actually going to cut any ice with their readership,” says Lyons. “The ads are increasingly very graphic, quite fun, possibly funny even… . I don’t think people are really shocked anymore if law firms make double entendres or cheap jokes.” A recent Clifford Chance ad sported a gardener in Wellington boots brandishing a four-foot-long marrow (an English gourd that recalls the American cucumber) and the caption “Size matters.” Translates Roderick Kentish, general manager for the firm’s corporate practice in London, “It’s just to get across the point that we’re running with the big guys, working on the big deals.” In England’s tight legal market — where antipathy toward head-hunting places a greater emphasis on advertising — firms are taking a cue from consumer marketing, says Sarah David of tmp.qd legal, the London recruitment agency, which also devised the Cadwalader campaign. David, in that superior British tone, adds that law firms in the U.K. largely abandoned the so-called tombstone ad “four years ago.” A role reversal in the ancient game of transatlantic one-upmanship? The stodgy Brits resort to cheeky gimmickry to show they’re down with youth culture, while the American upstarts demonstrate a bit more reserve.

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