Home -> Law Blog Directory -> Legal News Blogs -> Law Blog - WSJ.com
(866) 635-2689 for Personal Injury or (866) 635-9402 for Criminal Defense
Find a Local Lawyer
Divorce (866) 635-6190
Personal Injury (866) 635-2689
Criminal Defense (866) 635-9402
Legal News: Law Blog - WSJ.com
The Law Blog Golfer of the Day: Meaghan Francella
By Ashby Jones
So if any LB readers out there are home sick (but still reading the Law Blog) or vacationing in East Quogue, Marc Dreier style (but still reading the Law Blog), we’d encourage you to turn on the Golf Channel this afternoon. The station will be broadcasting the McDonald’s LPGA Championship from the Bulle Rock Golf Course in Havre de Grace, Md. The tournament is one of the LPGA’s four major events.
With any luck, the channel will show a swing or two by Meaghan Francella, a University of North Carolina graduate appearing in her 10th LPGA event this season. If you look closely at her left sleeve, you’ll see a name that might strike you as familiar: Kelley Drye & Warren. It ain’t exactly Phil Mickelson and KPMG or, for that matter, Vijay Singh and Allen Stanford, but it still fires us up: a major law firm sponsoring a pro athlete.
We were curious about this arrangement — so we reached out for a little more info. Francella was otherwised disposed (as we write, she’s two under par, tied for 8th place). So we got the next best person: Bob Bickford, the head of the real estate practice at Kelley Drye and the one at the firm who made the deal happen.
Our chat went like this:
Hi Bob. So how’d this come together?
Well, I belong to a golf club in West Palm Beach called Bear Lakes. They have a program where they make inexpensive memberships available to professionals like Meaghan. So she became a member there and we met. She approached us about a sponsorship.
How’d this strike you, initially? I mean, this certainly isn’t business as usual for a law firm.
Initially, yeah, I was pretty skeptical. We’re not a consumer products company or anything, so I’m not sure I initially grasped the point. Still, I was curious enough to pay a visit to Meaghan’s sports marketing firm while I was in Atlanta on firm business. I told them I had an hour or so and would be willing to chat a little more about the idea.
At first, they said we could “buy her bag,” which would have enabled us to put the firm name on her golf bag. They also threw out the possibility of putting our name on her hat.
But those didn’t appeal to you?
Not so much. Both of those options just seemed a little over-the-top. I thought something that ostentatious might get the firm criticized for spending on marketing at a time when we, and everyone else, is cutting costs. I just didn’t think it would look good. At the same time, we’re not out of business and we’re not going out of business, and we certainly need to continue marketing our brand.
In addition to the sleeve, do you guys get anything else?
We get a few outings with her. In May, we hosted a fairly modest event at a course in New Jersey. We invited clients and we asked Meaghan to play a hole with each foursome. Meaghan also put on a clinic.
Are you worried about a young golfer representing the firm, literally wearing it on her sleeve?
Not especially. Meaghan’s very personable and engaging. When we started this, I was at a PGA event in Miami that was sponsored by CA and I heard folks ask a few players about the company. Davis Love gave a very reasonable and knowledgeable answer, but another pro literally said ‘I don’t know anything about CA. I just show up and tee it up.’
We wanted to avoid that, so we gave a little coaching to Meaghan on what she should say if she’s asked about Kelley Drye — to say ‘it’s a national/international law firm based in New York with a large office in Washington.’ I mean, she’s not exactly going to bring us clients, but we do feel she can give our brand a little more exposure.
Was this a hard sell with the partners?
Well, [as head of the real estate department] I could have done it on my own authority, with my own marketing budget. But I did take it to the managing partner and the chair of the firm. Both were enthusiastic about it. The chairman especially liked the diversity element of it — that we’re sponsoring not a PGA player but an LPGA player. In one of the ‘outings’ we get with Meaghan as part of the deal, we’re having a women’s event, with female lawyers and clients. So we liked it on that basis too.
How much did it cost?
I’d rather not get into specifics, but it was in the low five-figures.
Okay, so what’s next? Kelley Drye on a stock car at the Daytona 500?
[Laughter] No, I’m not a big NASCAR guy.
Fair enough. Well, thanks for taking the time. And best of luck with it.
Search Blog Directory: