Build your personal brand

Ryan Kerr - Associate Director05 March 2018

How conscious are you of your personal brand as a lawyer?  I think this is something often overlooked yet is of increasing importance in today’s digitally connected world. 

If you have your sights set on progression, with tighter and tighter Partnerships, it’s often the depth and quality of your industry relationships and your reputation in your niche that will help you stand out from your peer groups and contribute towards making a compelling case.  The most ambitious lawyers I know are conscious of this early on in their careers and dedicate the time to build their brand and industry relations. 

So, what can you do to build your personal brand as a lawyer, even during the early days of your legal career?

Identify your brand
With your personal brand being unique to you and how others perceive you, it’s important to reflect honestly on yourself to understand what makes it.  To be the best possible version of yourself requires time spent at the start to know everything from your strengths and what you excel at, to your motivators and how you behave, as well as what you are renowned for.  It’s also worth while asking a colleague or two for their opinion, to ensure your final conclusions are as authentic as possible.  Once you identify your brand, you can start to actively promote it, nurturing and refining it as your legal career progresses.

Use social media
While more senior lawyers especially have traditionally been reluctant to use social media for fear of any reprisals over anything posted or said, social media networks are in fact crucial to building a personal brand. 
Take LinkedIn for example, granted this is almost a given for most legal professionals, but are you using it effectively?  Are you connecting with the thought leaders in your industry?  Does your profile include recommendations and highlight the projects or transaction you’ve been involved in? 
Twitter is an invaluable tool for connecting with others, especially those involved in industry sectors you might not otherwise be able to meet.  It’s a case of finding your persona in line with your brand goals and contribution to conversations in an honest, thoughtful and constructive manner.  Done right and done well, Twitter can help propel your personal brand and open doors to new relationships.

Write articles
Producing quality content is demanding work but being at the coalface of all the legal / regulatory changes in your industry, with all the foresight and knowledge that brings should offer considerable benefits to anyone in your network.  Have your audience in mind, is your content relevant to them?  Make sure to focus on areas where you have in-depth knowledge and credibility, so you stand out as an authority in your industry.  And once written, there are a variety of blogging websites you can use to host them, before using your social media networks to share links to your articles to increase their readership and promote your brand.   

Network and speak at events
Both networking and public speaking involve getting out there, an absolute must for personal brand building.  When it comes to networking, the vital ingredient is the ability to listen.  It’s not a time for talking all about yourself, but more listening to what others say about themselves and being able to offers solutions to their needs.  Preparing what you are going to say and how you will introduce yourself will bode you well prior to any networking event.  And remember to think of your audience – who are they, what are they interested in?  Networking is a skill that takes a lot of practice, but getting it right can yield results, especially as your reputation grows. 
For public speaking, consider the hot areas in your niche and how can you contribute to discussions.  Where can you become an expert on a relevant area to help put you in a strong position internally and externally (think; fintech / blockchain etc)?   Public speaking is another acquired skill and can take years to develop, but if you can start speaking early on in your career at smaller events and attending talks, you will be further cementing your personal brand within your industry.

Offer your help
Think strategically whether there are any groups within markets you can get involved with, where you can offer your help; it might be legal support and advice, connecting individuals or assisting with ideas.  Helping others is an extremely effective way of building a personal brand and there are so many ways you can help, to eventually see you benefit. 

Building all the above into your already very demanding day is likely to be the greatest challenge, but the key is to start practising the habits early and adapt your working methods accordingly, while keeping your end goal in mind.  You probably already know a handful of lawyers who have built a strong personal brand – their success comes from time, effort and staying true to their brand values.
I genuinely believe that the rainmakers of the future will for the most part be developing their relationships and brand very early on and leveraging these when they are in a position to, when the time is right. 

If you’re a lawyer of any level looking to get started with, or seeking ways to develop your own personal brand, you can contact Ryan at Interlink Recruitment to discuss the points mentioned in this blog in more detail.  Call the office on 0203 655 2180 or send him an email, ryan@interlinkrecruitment.com.  

 


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