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This week in zero-140 we’re taking a slightly different look at innovation in the professional services sector and introducing you to one of our associate partners, Brian John Spencer.  Brian has been working with Elephant Creative for a number of months and has been instrumental in helping us to create and establish the Zero-140 interviews and Tweeter of the Week award.  We thought it might be interesting to hear from the man who picks out the key influencers in our industry. You can read more of Brian’s work in the professional services here and view some of his fabulous artwork here.


Elephant Creative: Hi Brian, Where are you right now?

Just back from the coffee shop and now in my studio with a lot of art and ideas swirling around me.

EC: In 140 characters, tell us what you do?

I’m a writer and an artist. An ideas man who in the words of Helen Hammond cuts a figure like Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

EC: So you’re not a lawyer, or a marketing person officially… how did you end up working with EC?

I studied law and French and loved it. I also loved writing and creating stuff. So I came on board after seeing an add for a copywriter.

EC: And what was your career path to this point?

Went through grammar school and then to Law School; then I got hit by the recession. Diversification is the name of the game.

EC: Business development and marketing isn’t really something lawyers concern themselves with is it?

Yes, lawyers are a traditional bunch, committed to good practice. BD and marketing was never part of this. It is now though!

EC: So, what’s your view on how law firms are using social media at the moment?

There are some really interesting characters and law firms doing a lot of trailblazing. Watch, listen and follow and engage with them!

EC: What about websites, SEO and blogging?

Saw an interesting fact from the Law Society that 23% of firms have no website. Seriously? They need to catch themselves on…

EC: If you could wave a magic communications wand, what one thing would you get all lawyers doing tomorrow?

Get them thinking like a tech start-up. These guys are the modern pioneers who constantly reinvent themselves.

EC: So, you were pretty instrumental in helping to develop the EC 0-140 interview. What is it designed to do?

This whole BD, marketing and legal communications revolution is hard to get at time. Zero-140 picks brain and unpacks it.

EC: And why do law firm marketing people need to read it each week?

Zero-140 brings you inside the brightest legal marketing & technology minds. So read it and you’ll know where the edge of the envelope is.

EC: What other online ‘voices’ do you recommend that they read?

Hmm… Hildebrandt Institute is a great read. As is Above the Law with David Law. Also Bloomberg Law with Lee Pacchia.

EC: And you also helped to set up the Tweeter of the Week award… tell us why that’s necessary?

Twitter is no silver bullet. It is however a serendipity machine and it can make magic happen. TOTW just breaks down the science of good tweeting.

EC: Who has been your favourite winner so far?

Another hmm… I really loved the Scottish outfit Morton Fraser. Class act all round!

EC: What do you think law firm marketing and business development is going to look like in 10 years?

I’m no prognosticator but we’re seeing a transition in thinking and practice. Law schools will teach it and law firms will do it. It’ll be standard.

EC: Online service providers: threat or opportunity?

On the print unions Murdoch said those who prefer the past will be left behind. They’re both a threat and opportunity. But embrace them.

EC: ABS: threat or opportunity?

Something similar. They’re another iterative step on man’s journey towards an ever more efficient service line. Embrace them!

EC: How does the legal sector vary between NI and England, in terms of marketing and branding?

Well I’m looking into this actually… we have some class operators and then we had the archetypal Dickensian law firms.

EC: Which law firms do you most admire in terms of marketing and business development?

I’m brought back to the interview with Elliot Moss, named one of the most innovative in law by the FT. He’s doing cool stuff with Mishcon de Reya.

EC: Finally, what are your long-term goals?

Disrupt conventional thought and societal patterns. Cage and sabre rattle the establishment and just keep doing what I’m doing.