You’ll learn a lot in law school, but you probably won’t learn much about how to revamp your personal brand—unless you got a JD-MBA, of course!
For the rest of us, rebranding can be difficult. But personal branding for lawyers is important, especially for those who are looking to gain distinction in a new practice area or industry. After all, a lot goes into creating and projecting an image, especially in our current age of online proliferation. With the right approach, however, lawyers can successfully reinvent their personal brands.
Do the Legwork First
Make sure you’re clear on exactly why you want to rebrand, understand what you want your new personal brand to be, and be sure to put a plan in place to execute it. Start by doing as much research and preparation as is necessary: Read relevant law journals, conduct informational interviews, seek out a mentor who can help advise you. Take your time; there’s no need to rush. Then, figure out how to attain any necessary expertise or new skills you might not yet have. For example, will you need to go back to school for a Master of Law degree? Is there anything else you can do to cement your credibility in your new area? You’ll only be able to put a realistic plan in place once you know what steps you’ll need to take to get where you need to go.
Discern Your Difference-Makers
What makes you stand out? What about you can you use to your advantage, in terms of attracting clients or setting yourself apart? Or, to put it another way: What is your value proposition? Once you’ve defined your new personal brand, figure out how to communicate it. Maybe you have a relevant undergraduate degree, speak a foreign language fluently, or have personal experience navigating complex government services—whatever your differentiator, don’t be afraid to leverage it.
Prioritize Online Branding
When rebranding yourself, the image you convey online is crucial and can pay off significantly. A Google search is the first step many potential clients and potential employers take to learn more about you. As such, it’s imperative that you update your Facebook, LinkedIn, personal website, and bio on your employer’s website (if you can) with your narrative, making sure to explain how your past fits into your new image. Be active on relevant social media platforms as well, as they’re a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your chosen area (more on that below).
So, you’ve defined your new personal brand, figured out what sets you apart, and have updated your LinkedIn. Now it’s time to prove that you know what you’re doing and are worthy of clients’ trust. Start by creating digital content that’s in line with your rebrand, like starting a blog that allows potential clients to get a sense of your approach. Need more proof that a blog is worth the effort? According to the ABA Tech Report, 80% of lawyers who maintain a legal blog get clients as a direct result of it. It can also be valuable to bulk up your reputation by volunteering, getting published, or taking on speaking engagements.
Get Help if You Need it
For some of us, branding will come easily. But not for everyone. If you’re struggling to get started or having trouble in any of the aforementioned areas, don’t be afraid to bring in outside resources. There are marketing agencies out there specifically for lawyers, and they can help you no matter what you’re struggling with or where you are in your career.