Personal branding for lawyers is not necessarily about becoming a household name, it is about leveraging your best traits to accomplish your goals. It’s not enough to do great work – you need to make sure people know who you are and that you’re valued for it.There is a misconception that personal branding requires you to go out there and boast about yourself. That you need to be out there, constantly selling yourself to people. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You are simply positioning yourself as an expert. You might not be the client person, and that’s fine but you’d better be the best at branding what you are good at.
There are many false notions around personal branding for lawyers, today we are going to address a few:
#1: I HAVE NO INTENTION OF STARTING MY OWN FIRM, SO I DON’T NEED A PERSONAL BRAND.
This applies a lot to many who are starting their career or working for a law firm. Believe it or not, winning work isn’t the only reason to build a personal brand as a lawyer. Sure, it doesn’t hurt with that, but it can help, even if you’re set on staying in practice. Being a great lawyer isn’t enough. You need to highlight what makes you unique; your unique skills, traits, networks, goals and perspectives.
Speaking and other career growth opportunities arise when you have a strong personal brand. These things look great on your resume or profile. Rather than wait for the day when you will own your own law firm if that is your desire, start leveraging your attributes today.
#2: I AM A YOUNG LAWYER, I DON’T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT MY PERSONAL BRAND JUST YET.
It’s never too early to set the foundations for your personal brand as a junior lawyer. You might not have the years of experience yet but, hopefully, you have an inkling about what interests you. If not, then you should really start looking for something that interests you and start building skills in that area.
Once you’ve found what interests you, figure out how you can set yourself apart from the thousands of other lawyers or law graduates. For example you can; volunteer to present a topic to your team or group or colleagues, to build your public speaking skills. Clean your Linkedin profile and replace your university student profile photo with a professional headshot. Don’t forget to dress the part too – if your appearance is messy, others will perceive you to be the same.
#3:I DON’T WANT TO BE SEEN AS SOMEONE WHO HAS TO ADVERTISE TO GET WORK SO I DONT NEED A PERSONAL BRAND.
Lawyers in general aren’t typically big on promoting themselves. Article 62 of the internal regulation of the Cameroon bar association (12 Apr 2005) regulates ways lawyers promote their services in Cameroon and this has meant the profession has kept its distance from advertising – so many lawyers have drawn the conclusion that it’s safer not to market yourself at all. Let us clarify one thing: personal branding and advertising are not the same thing.
Building a personal brand as a lawyer is completely different to having to advertise to get work. In fact, building a strong personal brand will most likely result in more work coming to you, without you having to hustle to get it.
Your personal brand is what sets you apart, not how loud you can shout. It’s what value you add that people see in you. If you struggle to see that on a macro level then start at the micro. Look at your immediate team and think, how can I add value to it? How do I make that so irresistible that I get noticed? It might be a small thing you become really good at. It may be a piece of legislation, or drafting, or something where you are the go-to person. Maybe you decide to build your branding with the juniors, so they seek you out for help. Maybe it is with specific clients in niche areas. When you find it start exercising. The power lies in consistency.
#4: I’VE GOT MORE THAN ENOUGH WORK. I DON’T HAVE TIME TO BUILD A PERSONAL BRAND AS A LAWYER.
Your personal brand isn’t something you have to build overnight. It’s the result of many small efforts, compounded over your entire career.
Some of these efforts will already be expected of you at work, for example, attending networking events. Other efforts, such as building a website, are a bonus but not compulsory.
Maybe you want to become known for a particular thing, maybe you have great people skills and can take on tasks that others don’t want. Your brand is ultimately how people see you, both internally and externally. Being in control of that and how you build it over time requires work, it won’t just happen by accident (of if it does, you won’t like the outcome).
GET STARTED BUILDING YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
Ultimately your personal brand when well leveraged will increase your visibility and notoriety and this can translate to great remunerations for services rendered.
Delivering your brand clearly and consistently will create a memorable experience in the minds of those you interact with and can open doors to new opportunities. You can start by getting clarity on what your personal brand is. Put in your details below to download my free personal brand clarity workbook.