Organizing a Brand After a Merger & Acquisition First Legal Case Study

About First Legal

First Legal is a national legal support services brand based in Los Angeles. Their team works with small to large law firms, insurance companies and corporate legal teams to provide support in the form of filing of motions, deposition services, investigations, record keeping and more.

Able&Co. had previously worked with First Legal’s marketing director when she was the marketing director at Synensys. Able&Co. had provided rebranding strategies for Synensys and now Able was asked to help streamline and unify the First Legal brand.

First Legal Printed Material
Logos of First Legal's different departments

Situation

First Legal initially only provided court services such as courier and filing services. However, the organization had grown exponentially through purchases of businesses that offered complementary services to the same target audience – legal firms. When Able began working with First Legal, the divisions consisted of Depositions, Digital, Records, Court & Process and Investigations.

As each newly acquired business became a division of First Legal, each one retained its own methodology, messaging and culture. In addition, each division sold to clients separately, often to the same clients, which was inefficient and caused confusion.

Our analysis of First Legal’s website uncovered an unsatisfactory user experience primarily due to disorganized resources that were difficult to locate. The visitor had no way to understand First Legal’s full breadth of services. Finally, First Legal’s collateral and marketing material were developed by an in-house team at the request of each division head, which exacerbated the disjointed presentation of First Legal’s services, and resulted in confusion for their customers.

First Legal came to Able&Co. to bring all their divisions together and create a unified voice under a single, stronger brand. It was their goal to communicate First Legal’s value proposition about the benefits of its conveniently complete services offering. With this strong positioning, First Legal could appeal to large national firms and corporate decision-makers. In addition, First Legal’s plan needed future services and acquisitions to quickly comply with the First Legal branding.

Built out First Legal department logos

First Steps

Our short-term goal was to clean up existing materials, create templates and design collateral that could be used to explain and sell all services at once. We began the process of understanding the details of how each division worked, what their services were, target audiences and sales process.

We facilitated an initial branding workshop with key stakeholders and leaders of each division. We used various exercises such as the Golden Circle, SWOT and group brainstorming, which allowed us to open the floor to better understanding and maximize conversations.

The results of this workshop were multi-tiered. First, we established that the target audiences were legal secretaries, office managers and attorneys. Secondly, we uncovered the process for handoff between services.

We then created an overall marketing plan and a detailed schedule for the development and rollout of the revised branding. Concurrently, we continued to assist with current marketing needs during the development process.

Booklet providing information

File Thru Trial

During the development of the new corporate identity, we created a color-coded system that could readily accept and onboard new service groups and divisions as needed. This allowed for a more corporate and refined look, as opposed to a smaller, “mom and pop” appearance.

Our team then created the single core message of “Support from File Thru Trial”, which communicated their comprehensive suite of services and long-term partnerships. This exercise also produced their 10-word creative brief and provided a brief description of First Legal’s process.

At the overall brand level, Able created the communications framework that enables each division to explain its services while supporting the First Legal brand with a unified tone and voice. The Four Cornerstones of First Legal – Connect, Strategize, Simplify and Transform – is also designed so that future acquisitions can quickly and easily adapt their materials under the First Legal brand.

This all led to the creation of the File Thru Trial process and infographic, which easily explained how First Legal could work with a firm on a single phase or throughout an entire case.

One-sheet flyer. Picture is of a suited lawyer looking at a tablet

Implementation

Repeatability, scalability and ease-of-use were key requirements. Able developed a system of templates for presentations, digital and print pieces that could be used by their in-house team. We developed a modular, templated system of collateral material with both pre-printed and in-house materials for their proposals.

We then created a new website with a cohesive and organized user experience, complete with a resource library. A brand-compliant advertising campaign was created with the intention to generate awareness of the master brand. This also included advertisements for individual divisions.

After the completion of our work, we equipped their team for future implementation and handed off necessary resources.

First Legal is an example of how our customized framework approach allows businesses to achieve brand compliance while retaining the ability to expand.

The Results

The unified and clear messaging for First Legal’s brand and services, paired with their clean corporate styling, helped national large corporate legal and insurance firms fully understand the value First Legal brought to the table. As First Legal continues to make acquisitions and expand its office locations, the company’s internal team has easily applied its brand structure and collateral templates, proving the design of the scalable and repeatable system could grow with the company while maintaining the integrity of the brand.

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