Experience working with many of the world's
most prestigious international firms


One of the first international law firms to invest leadership time and energy into creating a strong and unified global brand that has stood the test of time.


Positioning White & Case as a global law firm with a distinctive 'G20 flavour' through powerful messaging and thought leadership.


Repositioning KPMG Management Consultants—the fastest growing division of one of the Big 4 professional service firms.


Transforming the brand positioning of Taylor Wessing into a modern, forward-thinking law firm focused on its strategy of targeting the industries of the future.


Helping position Covington as a global force in international deals and disputes by leveraging their world-class reputation in regulatory and government issues.

Baker McKenzie

Advising the pioneering law firm that invented the first global law firm brand in the 20th Century on their strategy to reinvent it in the 21st.

Achieving the unachievable


The challenge
By 2001 Linklaters had doubled in size through a string of European mergers. In order for growth to continue, it knew it needed to stand for something beyond scale: it needed something to unite and motivate its people and attract the best clients. Linklaters decided to be different: to have a clear ethos, a strong point of view, and a striking way of communicating that stood apart from conventional and subdued law firms.

What we did
Principia’s CEO, Ian Stephens* led a team that worked with partners, staff and clients around the world to define what was special about the firm: an ability to make things happen whatever the odds, to tackle the most intractable problems and get results. This truth was summarised as ‘achieving the unachievable’.

Work sessions were conducted across the firm, challenging people to find the things they could do to bring the idea to life, and a bold new communication style was created, based on words – a lawyer’s main weapon. Through clever word play and strong typography Linklaters developed a distinctive and confident voice in the market. It stands out with a strong reputation as the pre-eminent firm for the most challenging and complex cross-border work for the world’s most prestigious clients.

*then in his role as Principal of Wolff Olins



A law firm for the G20 world


Standing out from the Crowd
As one of the pioneering international law firms White & Case has a strong reputation for quality across a wide range of practice areas and across many developed and developing economies. However the firm’s leadership team recognised the need to sharpen their positioning in an increasingly competitive market and engaged with a team led by Principia’s CEO Ian Stephens* in 2012 to develop a more consistent and a more compelling proposition across all their global offices and markets.

From G7 to G20
After consulting with partners and clients around the world a new market positioning statement was developed that embraced White & Case’s strength in emerging markets and linked it back to their strong traditional developed markets presence. “White & Case is a truly global law firm, uniquely positioned to help our clients achieve their ambitions in today’s G20 world.”

Engagement from the inside-out
Behind this positioning a set of key messages and a communications toolkit were developed to enable the firm’s business development and marketing staff implement the brand positioning. The team also developed and conducted a global engagement programme that introduced the firm’s associates, staff and partners to the brand positioning and the service principles that are important to make the brand a reality in their clients’ experience of working with the Firm.

Whilst the work is only just beginning to launch externally, the initiative has been extremely well received by the firm’s partners and associates around the world. According to the partners, White & Case anticipates that the external market impact over the coming months and years will help the firm achieve its strategic ambition to cement the position of the future global elite law firm brands.

*then in his role as Managing Partner of Saffron


A new positioning for one of America's oldest law firms


A tradition of public service
Covington is one of America’s premier law firms, with a long and rich history going back almost a hundred years. They have a proud tradition of public service – Eric Holder, America’s first African American Attorney General was a lifetime Covington partner and recently returned to the firm; Michael Chertoff (ex-Secretary of State for the Department of Homeland Security) and John Dugan (ex-Comptroller of the Currency) left government to come to Covington.

But even a firm with Covington’s pedigree needs a compelling rationale to persuade potential Clients who are more often than not already well served by their existing firms to look beyond what they already know. Growth, therefore, is often reliant on taking market share away from others – firms can no longer rely on a rising tide to lift all boats. A team led by Principia’s CEO, Ian Stephens* were instructed to help Covington meet this competitive challenge by creating a razor-sharp brand positioning that could help them better go to market. 

Leveraging Covington’s greatest strength
Covington’s traditional strength has been its regulatory practice - a tradition of public service and historical expertise in the field meant wide recognition as being the world’s best lawyers in the field. By numbers, however, the regulatory practice is relatively small – Covington is a full service firm and needs a positioning that reflects their wide and global expertise. In the course of a number of very senior client interviews, however, a new context emerged – a combination of the financial crisis and globalisation means that almost every significant company faces significant regulatory issues. These issues are often ‘bet-the-company’ issues, at the top of the corporate agenda, and require the finest legal minds to navigate. Far from being a niche practice area, regulatory now touches everything a company does – and happens to be Covington’s acknowledged standout expertise. 

The team crafted a positioning that helps connect regulatory matters and insight to the rest of Covington’s practice areas, helping them go to market competitively, coherently and compellingly. By linking the range of practice areas to the core regulatory proposition, this go to market strategy gives clients a compelling rationale to look beyond their existing firms and consider Covington’s insight and expertise – an expertise not easily claimed by other firms.

An engagement programme helped ensure that every Covington lawyer understands the new positioning and how to best use it in their interactions with existing and potential clients. And a sophisticated and considered new visual identity helps bring the positioning to life, projecting the authority and gravitas with which Covington lawyers carry themselves.

Launched and leveraged
The new Covington brand is now in use across everything they do. The visual identity has been deployed across all their touch points, and the entire partnership has aligned behind the singular positioning and have found great success in going to market with it. 

*then in his role as Managing Partner of Saffron


Transforming an 'old-fashioned' law firm into 'cutting-edge' player


One among many
Through a series of alliances and mergers Taylor Wessing had created a powerful network of offices giving it a presence across Europe and the Middle East. With strength in many practice areas the firm had performed well but had yet to find a clear positioning for itself among the burgeoning crowd of mid-sized international firms in the market. In 2009 a team led by Principia’s CEO, Ian Stephens* were asked to help the firm find its voice.

Forward thinking
In part driven by their strength in dynamic technology and knowledge based industry sectors as well as their relative lack of conservatism the team found that clients valued their ability to work and think in a thoroughly modern, flexible and innovative way. This strength was captured in the idea of ‘forward-thinking’, which gave a focal point to their brand positioning both internally and externally. The team worked with groups of partners and staff drawn from across the firm to develop tangible initiatives to bring the brand idea to life in their client experience, internal culture and communications. These initiatives were then taken to the full partnership for buy-in and support and then rolled out across the firm. At the same time a new visual identity system was developed to help project the idea of ‘forward-thinking’ in a powerful way.

New beginnings
The new brand programme was first launched internally to partners and staff across all its offices through a series of town-hall meetings, workshops and other innovative communications channels such as video podcasts. Then with the firm’s partners and staff fully engaged the brand was launched externally to clients and recruits early in 2010. Since then the firm has been recognised by the legal industry as one of the finest, winning The Lawyer's 'Law Firm of the Year' award in 2013.

*then in his role as Managing Partner of Saffron


Discovering competitive advantage in doing 'strategy by numbers'


Beyond finance
As one of the Big 4 accountancy and professional services firms, KPMG needs no introduction. Principia’s CEO, Ian Stephens* was engaged by one of the firm’s fastest growing global business units (at that time known as KPMG Performance and Technology) to help them develop a clear brand strategy for that business.

Truly global
To engage with a partnership spread across all corners of the globe, the team designed a development process to cope with the size and diversity of the stakeholder group. Initially a large sample of partners and key clients representing key offices, areas of business and geographies were interviewed to build the necessary insight and develop a set of concepts that would define the positioning of the business in the market. Once approved by the global leadership team Ian facilitated a series of workshops with groups of partners in major cities around the world.

20/20 vision
‘The result was a clear vision for the business: ‘To redefine the consulting landscape through the quality of our insights and the consistent delivery of value to our clients.’ That, along with a set of key messages and tangible initiatives was implemented across the firm – under the new name of KPMG Management Consulting.’

*then in his role as Managing Partner of Saffron


Helping Baker McKenzie become the world's favourite global law firm


Ahead of the curve
Baker McKenzie can credibly claim to have invented the idea of a global law firm. Founded in 1949 by two ambitious and farsighted Chicago lawyers they grew rapidly, establishing 68 offices in 40 countries with more than 1300 partners.  However by 2007 plenty of other US and UK firms had also established their own strong international networks, leaving Baker & McKenzie’s international reach no longer sufficiently differentiating by itself. A team led by Principia’s CEO Ian Stephens* was engaged to help the firm redefine what it meant to be a truly global firm in the 21st Century. 

First the team helped identify what makes Baker McKenzie special. In a word it's the firm’s global ‘fluency’ in the way they think, work and behave. The firm has an instinctively global perspective that comes from being a truly multi-national firm of lawyers at ease in many business cultures – something that the more ‘colonial’ US and UK firms can’t yet match. It’s their fluency that enables them to navigate legal complexity across practices and borders with ease and it’s their fluency that allows them to bring the very best of Baker McKenzie’s global expertise to each of their clients regardless of geography.

Having defined the core idea and introduced it to their entire global partnership Ian worked with the firm’s global leadership team to develop a 12 month internal engagement programme to embed fluency across the firm so that every aspect of what they do from client service, talent management and culture to all their external communications is aligned with their core brand idea of ‘fluency’ and clearly projects their difference to the market. 

First among equals
Today Baker McKenzie has confidently reasserted its position as the premier global firm in the post-crisis era of globalisation. The respected Sharplegal annual survey of international law firm brands, conducted among General Counsel of Fortune 500 companies, has scored Baker McKenzie as the No.1 law firm brand among the so called ‘Global Elite’ group of top international firms for the last 8 years. In both developed and developing economies around the world the firm is increasingly recognised by clients and recruits as a different kind of premium international firm – more in tune with their complex legal needs and better able to deliver across borders and business cultures.

*then in his role as Managing Partner of Saffron