What appears to be a subtle change at one of Hartford’s most prominent firms is actually the mark of a companywide modernization and affirmation of a client-focused message at the entity formerly known as Halloran & Sage.
In a recent meeting on the 17th floor at Goodwin Place in downtown Hartford, Halloran Sage partner William McGrath and Chief Operating Officer David Urbanik said a newly shortened name and artistic logo are the cosmetic upgrades for their firm, which has restated its values through a messaging campaign that touches all of their employees. And while the messaging style may be new, the core principles have existed for decades.
“We sort of made a decision to rebrand and modernize our brand, and in undertaking that process, we looked at ourselves internally and said ‘Let’s redefine our values,’” Urbanik said. “It was a very deliberate process. The rebranding happened last month, but the process leading up to it was a year-and-a-half long.”
That process resulted in a new website, along with a short-format video (above) that highlights “preparing for the unexpected and securing a successful future.”
“Our team of legal craftsmen puts every option on the table, including steering clear of the legal process altogether,” a narrator states. “It’s about knowing when to be flexible, when to hold your ground and when to fight.”
“We took time to survey our employees and survey our clients,” Urbanik said. “We spent time sharing ideas internally to be sure what we thought were the values and what was driving us was shared universally—literally everyone in the firm shared in that process. We wanted to make sure that the brand really reflected who we are.”
Promoting a “culture of opportunity,” Halloran Sage has updated photos and contact information for all employees—not just attorneys—to give the process of choosing a firm a personal touch that promotes both individuality and teamwork. “It’s a partnership-oriented, almost holistic approach of helping people plan their best path forward,” said McGrath, who noted that losing the firm’s ampersand fits in with modernization. “This has always been our unstated philosophy and part of our core beliefs. We’re just verbalizing it, and we’re announcing it both internally and externally.”
How this approach pays off in real numbers is really secondary to expressing the message, said McGrath. “I’m sort of indifferent to what other firms our size are doing. We’re doing what works for us,” he said. “I will say when we undertook this process it was driven totally internally. It was not a reaction to market forces or what other firms are doing. We didn’t feel like we were broken in our desire to rebrand. We felt we should use this opportunity to affirm our values.”
One key mission statement for Halloran Sage is to sometimes offer advice to clients that they may not know they are looking for to achieve “long-term success, not shortsighted resolution.” The narrator stresses, “Taking the best path forward is about knowing when to have patience, when to take confident action and what direction to move.”
Halloran Sage marketing manager Jane Ferketic said the message is about putting people first, focusing first on clients and community, secondly on the firm as a whole and finally on the attorneys and leaders at the firm. “We think this is the kind of service that loyal clients will look for in the future,” she said. “They can call on a whole range of matters and an attorney will give them a sense of what it means legally. If they are calling about an employment issue, for instance, we will lead them to the right person to answer that question. We’re looking forward at how we can collaborate and use our talent to solve problems. It is a more proactive approach.”
And while it’s too early to tell what the bottom-line benefit will be from this rebranding, McGrath said he is happy to see that employees at Halloran Sage are happy with the result. “We haven’t really developed any metrics to measure an economic achievement from our rebranding. But it’s its own reward. I think happier, more involved people at all levels of the firm enhances our service, and hopefully that inures to our economic value.”