Day Pitney, Drinking

Day Pitney Lawyers: No Coke for You!
What would your firm do to snag a client?

What would your firm do to land, or generate more business from, an important client? Would you… switch sodas?

Over at Day Pitney, they’re taking the Pepsi challenge. Here’s an email recently sent around the firm by partner Ernest Mattei (Pepsi logo in the original):

Pepsico, Inc. is a firm client. We want to expand our relationship and increase the amount of business we receive from Pepsi. Currently we have matters for Pepsi that are being handled in several of our offices. We have had meetings in those offices with Pepsi attorneys and representatives.

We want Pepsi to know that they are important to us and that we are serious about representing them and developing our relationship. One obvious way to do this is to use their products. For that reason, the Executive Committee has approved offering Pepsi and Diet Pepsi at meetings when beverages and snacks are provided in our Connecticut and Boston offices. Coke will still be available in our vending machines.

We plan on informing Pepsi of the firm’s decision. Thank you for your anticipated support of this decision.

How is this news being received at Day Pitney? Caffeine-addicted lawyers can be very sensitive when it comes to their soda. Remember the near-mutiny at Foley & Lardner, after the firm decided to slash its soda subsidy?

And will Pepsi even notice that Day Pitney has switched?

UPDATE: A reader poll on Coke v. Pepsi, added after the jump.

Of course not. And not just because PepsiCo has a habit of overlooking things.

Let’s do the math. Even if every one of Day Pitney’s 400 or so attorneys drank enough additional Pepsi to turn diabetic — let’s say $1,000 a year per lawyer, which works out to about $2.50 to $3 a day — that would give Pepsi $400,000 in new revenue (assuming the DP lawyers were all non-Pepsi drinkers before). That would amount to less than 1/1000th of 1 percent of Pepsi’s 2009 revenue of $43.3 billion.

Switching sodas to support a client seems a bit… silly. And, given Pepsi’s inferiority as a beverage to Coke, this imposes a real hardship on Day Pitney lawyers. There’s a reason why bartenders or waiters apologetically ask, in response to requests for a Coke, “Is Pepsi okay?”

But still, it’s a nice gesture by Day Pitney. And every new customer counts. Maybe DP will represent the “tipping point” in Pepsi’s war with Coke.

Large law firms are major businesses, with hundreds of millions or even billions in revenue. They definitely have lots of money to spend — so they might as well spend it to benefit their clients.

Day Pitney isn’t the only firm to switch products to demonstrate support of an important client. When we were at Wachtell, word on the street was that the firm used AT&T for all attorney cell phones because the telecommunications giant was such a key client. Kash reports that when she was at Covington, the firm switched coffee machines to use a model manufactured by a client.

One can think of other potential examples. For example, should associates at firms representing Apple — e.g., Kirkland & Elllis, Orrick — ask their firms to switch them over from BlackBerrys to iPhones?

Are you aware of other examples of law firms switching brands to snag a new client or to support an existing one? Feel free to share them in the comments.

P.S. In other Day Pitney news, the firm’s executive director, Steven Mauro, is trying to sell his house in Cleveland. The four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath home, listed for $525,000, sounds perfectly nice. But it’s not as luxurious as the residences we typically profile, which is why the tipster who emailed us the news used this subject heading: “Lawyerly Lairs: Down Market Edition?”

Law firm executive director selling Solon 4BD [BlockShopper Cleveland]

UPDATE: Take our soda preference poll:

Earlier: Legal Secretary of the Day: Pepsi’s $1.26 Billion Mistake
Reversed Perk Watch: Soda Subsidy Slashed at Foley & Lardner

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