What does managing the world’s largest legal marketing consultancy entail? Headed by leading legal directory consultants, Daniel Kidd and Jacob Aitken, founded the company in 2015 after forging careers as Chambers and Partners editors. Since then, Kidd Aitken has grown to an over 50-strong team, 29 of whom are legal directory consultants and all former editors, researchers and writers from Chambers, The Legal 500, IFLR1000 and other prestigious directories.
Kidd Aitken has built a culture of excellent, trustworthiness and expertise in their six years of operation. With services ranging from expertly crafted legal directory submissions, strategic advice on the process, and consultancy on legal awards, marketing and research strategies for organisations. For global legal organisations to boutique law firms, with every practice area covered.
But, to fully understand Kidd Aitken as a company, we must dive into the lives of those behind it. A story of two former Chambers editors accumulating unique insight into the submission process for international legal rankings, uncovering the gap between the understanding of law firms on how to tackle this process and the criteria for ranking in legal directories. They sought to close this gap with consultancy services, which have now gone on to support over 200 clients.
They reveal their insights from working with over 200 clients, how to manage a fully remote-working team, what they enjoy doing in their free time, and much more.
Q: What is your background, Daniel?
I am originally from Reading in the UK . I’ve always had an interest in languages and went on to study Spanish at the University of Warwick. I moved to Tokyo in 2002, which was a very powerful and formative experience for me, by having to start a life independently in a different country. While abroad, I taught English in schools as well as immersed myself in Japanese culture and learnt the language at an advanced level, which of course involved experiencing the local cuisine, the nightlife, going to sumo matches and playing football.
Q: How does your cultural understanding of Asia influence your future endeavours?
On returning to the UK, I spent four years at Chambers and Partners in London, where I edited the first three editions of Chambers Asia Pacific, launching the first edition in Singapore in 2008. I oversaw every ranking table in the guide, reviewed thousands of submissions and led a large team of researchers. My time at Chambers gave me a better understanding of the connections between legal practice areas, and what makes a submission worthy of higher Band or Tier rankings in legal directories.
Q: How do you manage a global team?
Kidd Aitken is a fully remote company, and we are proud to have fostered a culture of trust and ownership among our employees. We don’t believe in micromanaging and instead have hired those who have the experience and drive to quality strategic advice to our clients.
Q: What do you like doing outside work?
My family and I moved to Mexico at the beginning of 2020 and we have really enjoyed the change of pace. I play on the Dads football team at my children’s school, enjoy being active and exploring the beautiful Mexican landscape with my family.
Q: What is your background, Jacob?
I was born in Norfolk, England, and, although I no longer live there, I am still a keen supporter of Norwich City Football Club. Growing up, I was involved in music, and toured the U.S. with my local Cathedral choir and South Africa to play the saxophone. My interest in music gradually pivoted to languages.
I fell in love with Spanish after taking in an exchange program in Spain in my teens, and later went on to pursue Hispanic Studies at the University of Birmingham. I then spent a gap year in Chile teaching English in a school, skills I still use today when working with our clients.
Q: What is your experience in the legal sector?
When I returned to the UK, my language skills helped me get a job at Chambers and Partners as a researcher for Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries. There, I learnt a considerable amount about the legal world and through conversations, discovered the practices of law firms. From researcher, I became the editor of the first three editions of Chambers Latin America, leading the launch of the first edition in Buenos Aires in 2008.
Both Daniel and I have very similar career paths and as such, we have over 30 years of combined experience in the legal sector and have reviewed thousands of submissions during our tenure. I believe this makes us two of the best-equipped consultants to help any firm achieve top legal directory rankings, especially in an increasingly competitive and evolving legal environment.
Q: What have you learnt since launching Kidd Aitken?
Our unrivalled experience and great cultural understanding of legal practices have been an asset when building and managing Kidd Aitken. We feel that we have achieved a rarity in the legal sector, a remote working business with a great work-life balance, featuring experts from a variety of legal directories. By managing a global remote team, we have learnt to trust people more, put faith in their knowledge and expertise, and delegate effectively.
Q: What are your hobbies?
In my free time, I absolutely love fishing. I like spending one day per week outdoors, which helps me slow down and disconnect from a busy schedule. I love seeing nature and the changing seasons this way. I have caught fish in the Amazon, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Thailand and in the U.S. In the future, I’d love to eventually build and manage my own lake.
If you’d like to find out more about the history of Kidd Aitken or how we can support your firm with your legal directory submissions, get in touch.