Design choices for introductory letters from partners

Sometimes reports kick off with a letter from one or more partners of the firm. From the reports of Allen Matkins CommlRE 2018, Berwin Leighton ArbDiversity 2016, DLA Piper Compliance 2016, Freshfields Bruckhaus IP 2009, and White Case Arbitration 2010, we can compare their introductory partner-letters.

Allen Matkins’ letter [pg. 3] has two headers, then four paragraphs of text, and at the bottom a signature block of one partner. The letter covers most of the page.

Berwin Leighton ArbDiversity [pg. 3] has one header for its letter, also four paragraphs of text, and a signature block for one partner. However, it also displays a cut-out photo of that partner leaning against the left edge of the page and splashes a cheerful “HELLO” just below the middle of the page. We can revel in that splash of cheer with the snippet below, which shows part of the partner’s tall photo.

Proving that firms do not stick stubbornly to a single design, Berwin Leighton ArbDelay [pg. 3] displays a head-shot of the partner upper left, a quote below that partner in the left margin, and titles the page “Partner forward.” Three paragraphs of text precede the signature block.

Freshfields Bruckhaus [pg. 3] calls its partner letter a “Forward” and starts it with a header and the date. Following them are seven paragraphs of text enlivened by two design blocks in the right margin. The color of the header matches the color of the two partner names at the bottom. They have scrawled no signature but they do list their telephone number and email address.

White Case [pg. 3] fills the left half of a landscape page with its “Introduction,” which is a two-column, three-paragraph letter from a single partner. A head-shot of the partner appears below a horizontal divider line at the top and above his name and position.

DLA Piper [pg. 2] includes comments from two partners and oval head shots. In another design feature, most of the page is a blue rectangle shading and fading to white at the outer margin. The snippet below gives a sense of the positioning of the text, the head shots and the gradient blue-to-white effect.

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