Shea Nerland

Shea Nerland

Brand, Leadership & Culture

Elevating a brand and culture for the next saga in a Calgary law firm’s story

Shea Nerland LLP (formerly SNC Law) is a Calgary law firm that specializes in tax law, corporate law and estate planning. Founded in 1990 by partners Dennis Nerland and James Shea, the firm has helped an international portfolio of clients for more than 20 years.

Times change, though, and so organizations must evolve with them. The law firm knew they needed to embrace change as they were transitioning into a new era of their practice.

The Opportunity

Transitioning from a friendly boutique firm into an international leader; protecting the legacy of the founding partners while giving top associates their chance to shine; moving to a new office location with the opportunity to refresh the brand – SNC Law was on the precipice of major growth and change in 2015. Wisely, the firm decided to seize the chance to strategically guide the transitions in a way that would benefit employees and clients.

The Approach

Think Shift worked with the firm to realigned the partnership team’s vision for the firm, rename the organization and update the brand to reflect a more international and sophisticated firm.

Through our Aligning Brand and Culture service, we brought the firm’s eight partners and six top associates together to set define the brand and culture that would carry their organization into future. Half of the team wanted a more relaxed corporate culture, while half wanted a culture that supported aggressive growth. Through our sessions, the group decided that in order to achieve their mission and vision, they needed aggressive growth.

Next, we took the law firm through our Branding From the Inside Out process. The group soon realized that their name, SNC Law, no longer fit the organization. We explored new names and settled on those of the two founding partners: Shea Nerland LLP. Next, we conducted personal interviews with the firm’s top clients. We asked them where they wanted to see Shea Nerland improve, what they valued most about their relationship with the firm and what they hoped would never change. With this insight, we crafted a brand storybook that defined Shea Nerland’s purpose and values.

We crafted a new logo, visual identity package, stationary, business cards and even branded décor for the new office space. We also created a mobile-responsive website that highlighted the firm’s over-arching vision and values, their areas of business and each lawyer’s unique strengths and accolades.

The Result

Shea Nerland’s new brand and website now matches the prestige of their international growth goals. The site launched in May 2016 and earned many compliments from clients and other lawyers. The law firm has begun larger marketing efforts to grow their tax law practice – both domestically and internationally.

Our work on aligning the Shea Nerland culture has led to several key structural changes within their organization, and these changes have allowed the firm to elevate top associates and bring several into partnership. The organization is in a strong position to continue to grow in new markets.