BY Michael Fleming

DATE: 28 MAR 2014


KWC Legal is on tour this week, so this blog is being typed at 32,000 feet and about 500 knots en route to Dubai. Oh boy do Emirates know a thing or two about customer service. Most impressive. This is of course what they get noticed for: amazing customer service and experience. From the suited and booted chap who picks you up from your house in the latest snazzy Merc - a KWC client, it’s a small world - to the friendly air steward who pours your Veuve Clicquot immediately as you take your seat.

It is nice to get noticed. In fact for lawyers trying to get their share of work in a challenging legal marketplace, it's vital. I expect the subject of "being noticed" will come up during the course of the training, coaching and conference speaking slots lined up this week in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. When we talk about business development for lawyers it always does. There will be the usual discussion about being noticed for the wrong reasons (…Christmas party?). And then we'll get onto all the right reasons to be noticed in your business networks by your contacts and clients. This will lead nicely into a discussion about personal brand and being appropriately memorable.
A couple of weeks ago, while on tour in the only marginally less glamorous City of London, Manchester and Peterborough, I took the train from City Thameslink to Gatwick. A regular, mundane, commute. City Thameslink is handily only a few hundred yards from Club Quarters, the American hotel on Ludgate Hill that is my second home. So far so normal. A woman boarded the train at the same time with a large dog.  Fair enough, you  don't often see dogs on the London commute but hey, it’s allowed.  She sits down at an empty table of four seats and  I elect not to sit next there, on account of the large dog.  I have nothing against dogs - I have to say that because my colleagues Nicky & Julie are dog lovers - but in a jiffy it’s going to be under the table, panting and sniffing and slavering. And I've just had my suit dry cleaned…
So I elect to incur a "Paddington stare" from the woman in the twin seats to the other side of the isle from Dog Lady by asking her if she'd mind moving her handbag so I could sit down.  You know the look.  The one that incredibly in about two seconds manages to convey: all right mate, what's your game?  Why don't you go and sit at that table of four opposite?  Are you some kind of weirdo?
I’m sorted, if a little discomforted; and then it all kicks off. Dog Lady becomes Rabbit Lady as she starts talking quite loudly and crossly, "Just you settle down and stay there!".  I assumed that she's talking to her dog, who is under the table, licking his nuts.  But no,  she's talking to the rabbit in her handbag.
I'll pause for a moment to allow you to absorb that: she's talking to the rabbit in her handbag.
A dark grey rabbit’s twitching nose and large ears are poking out of the bag slung round her neck. Bugs Bunny responds to his rebuke by ducking back into the bag and settling down.
Best bit about this experience? Checking out the face of the bloke who had chosen to sit opposite her at the table of four; he’ll be telling it down the pub by tea time.  Priceless.
And so the 45 minute journey from City Thameslink got underway and I enjoyed watching the expressions on the faces of my fellow travellers as they boarded at various stops along the way, sat down and then clocked the rabbit. And of course, this being London, no-one actually said a word.  For the avoidance of doubt, in Glasgow, there is no way you could do 45 minutes on a train with a rabbit in your handbag and not have people talk to you about it: everything from “does it have a name?” to “they are lovely in a stew with herb dumplings”.
So Rabbit Woman was certainly memorable. I reckon I could pick her out in a line-up several months from now.  As for the rest of my fellow commuters?  No chance.  Not if my life depending on it.

Remind anyone of sitting through a day of pitches by law firm partners?


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about the author

Michael Fleming is our Head of KWC Legal. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop him an email and we will be in touch.

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