Lavery CEO Discusses Launching the Firm’s Brand Into the Future in Canadian Lawyer
Launching Lavery’s Brand Into the Future
Anik Trudel likes to take risks. When she began her legal career, she decided to pursue litigation. She didn’t make this choice because it played to her strengths. “I decided to go into litigation because I was rather shy and quite afraid to speak in public,” she says. “I said to myself, ‘I might as well fix that issue.’”
Trudel has since made her career by getting out of her comfort zone, an approach she recently applied as CEO of Lavery while the top Quebec law firm launched its new brand image. Trudel practised as a litigator for over 20 years, but she wanted a change. “I loved the practice, but at 42, I figured if I don’t do something else now, I will do this my whole life. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that, but I wanted to explore other opportunities.”
So she decided to take intensive courses in coaching, and launched a company to bridge the generational divides in the workplace. “At the time, employer branding was new, but the fight for talent was already a big issue. I’ve always been very fascinated by the importance of talent.” Edelman Public Relations noticed Trudel’s work and soon approached her to head its employee engagement practice. The firm eventually asked Trudel to lead its Montreal office.
“It’s a privately owned company, with a very strong leader who had quite the vision for the advancement of women.” Trudel then worked in public relations for over ten years, including successive management positions at Edelman and Citoyen Optimum, the PR branch of Cossette. She says that Stikeman gave her a lasting appreciation for discipline and excellence. “These have been two major drivers in my subsequent career.”
Trudel has also maintained strong ties to her broader community, including 14 years as a board member at the Port of Montreal and, most recently, as chair of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal’s board. In 2017, Lavery approached Trudel to head up the firm.
“I was impressed at the time that Lavery was thinking outside the box. They were very open to a woman leader and somebody who is not necessarily part of the firm and its history, which is quite innovative. Traditionally, people who manage law firms come from their culture.” Trudel has been with Lavery for five years, pushing the firm in new directions while ensuring its rich 100-year history is always top of mind.
She says there was a desire for a refresh, so the firm went through a significant strategic planning exercise. “That helped us in terms of our brand positioning. We wanted to reframe our purpose, which was to be part and parcel of the economic tissue of Quebec and to accompany its businesses wherever they go.”
The firm invested in technology and re-evaluated the grounds of its strategic positioning. When the pandemic hit, Trudel says its focus on people became vital as physical distance became the norm. “What became apparent is Lavery’s network of people. We have a strong presence in Montreal, Sherbrooke, Quebec City, and Trois-Rivieres. We see you as part of a network of talent rather than part of business units.”
After spending a lot of time on its positioning, Lavery noticed one thing: The firm had always been humble. “We have never made that much noise in the market,” says Trudel. So the firm hired the Quebec-based marketing company BrandBourg to create a simple and warm brand with a distinctively human touch. They also hired renowned illustrator Sebastien Thibault, who will continue to work with the firm.
“We also wanted to have a more innovative and assertive brand,” says Trudel. Lavery consulted internally and with clients, deciding to remove the word “lawyers” from its name. “Today, we are much more than just lawyers. We also have a solid IP group, which includes engineers, chemists, and patent and trademark agents. Our firm is also composed of notaries and many other professionals outside the legal domain who support our practice groups.”
“What became apparent is Lavery’s network of people. We have a strong presence in Montreal, Sherbrooke, Quebec City, and Trois-Rivieres. We see you as part of a network of talent rather than part of business units.”
The logo remained green to retain the firm’s historically distinctive colour, but they modernized the shade and added a green line to evoke the space used for signatures. “Everything we do bears our distinctive signature,” says Trudel. “When we sign as Lavery, it is a commitment to our clients, employees, and all our stakeholders.”
Trudel’s enthusiasm is clearly about more than colours and fonts – it comes from the innovation and risk-taking that the rebranding evokes. “With branding, it always looks very simple, but a lot of thought goes into it.” Now that Lavery has launched its new brand, Trudel is excited to focus on internal process improvements and client service. Lavery is modernizing its back-office technology and will be reimagining its space, as its lease is up for renewal in 2026.
For Trudel, all these changes aim to position Lavery at the forefront of the disruption happening in the profession. “The pandemic has put such a focus on re-evaluating the legal workplace. We made huge leaps forward. Who would have thought in March 2020 that we could work entirely outside the office? It’s been fantastic for the legal profession because we’ve made huge leaps,” says Trudel. Yet she sees a generational challenge, with many boomers leaving the workplace and a much smaller number of Generation X leaders, which puts more pressure on younger lawyers.
“We are facing important generational gaps. Our clients are experiencing this as well. Furthermore, because of the sheer demographics, we are also skipping a generation of leaders: Gen Y will be taking the reins sooner rather than later,” says Trudel. “This is creating a perfect storm, and transferring knowledge doesn’t happen overnight.” Trudel says younger lawyers tend to be more project-driven and are keen on gaining new experience quickly.
They are also collaborative, technologically savvy, and expressive and authentic about their feelings and state of mind. A good work-life balance is also important to them. Firms must adapt to this reality, and business models need to be reviewed accordingly. “We need to rethink our recruitment and career path strategies.” This change includes better integration of professionals outside of the legal domain, in areas like project management.
“We need to be more versatile, rethink expertise, be better risk managers, have better interpersonal skills, and better integrate the values of equality and diversity. It is going to affect the way we educate our professionals.” For Trudel, her appetite for risk and willingness to think differently, along with her firm’s modernized image, mean Lavery is well positioned to lead the charge.
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