Many lawyers really struggle with selling themselves properly. The most articulate orators and the most convincing negotiators can easily fall flat when faced with the challenge of describing their unique qualities and positive attributes.
In order to serve more clients, lawyers need to raise their profile in two areas. Internally, particularly where you work for a medium to large firm, with your colleagues. Externally in your professional circle and marketplace in which you deliver your legal services.
What you know about yourself and what others perceive you to be, is your personal brand.
To be clear, your personal brand is all about you not about the services or the firm.
It is said ‘people buy from people that they trust’ so having a clear idea of your own brand and how it is perceived is fundamental to standing out in this crowded marketplace. (as at February 2021, there are just under 190,000 legal professionals on the Law Society Database alone). Therefore, developing and honing your personal brand is crucial to your success in law.
Prerequisite to developing and honing your personal brand is a knowledge of:
- You (qualities, values, skills) and
- how you are currently perceived by clients and colleagues,
Let’s start with You
It sounds simple and obvious and yet many lawyers shy away from describing their qualities and their positive attributes.
I have just added a second part to the Free Standalone Toolkit to Document your Brilliance ®, which contains your Personal Brand toolkit This provides you with four exercises to enable you to capture these on paper and add to these as you gain more experience.
We start with an exercise for you to list your qualities. For the purposes of this blog, a quality is an attribute, feature or trait that you have as part of your character.
In my book Business Skills? Don’t be daft I am a lawyer! Section 3 Chapter 3.3, I asked my 29 inspirational legal business owners for their top three qualities.
The ones that occurred most often were:
- Problem solving
Your skills also form part of your personal reputation as a lawyer. For me, skills are something you learn to become proficient at or master. An example might be delivering presentations or drafting a will. See this exercise, Professional, Personal and Management Assessment for you to record your progress in developing these, unless your organisation has a methodology for you to do this.
Another way to understand yourself is to take a psychometric test. Don’t panic, these can be simple, fun and informative. The MiRo psychometric system I use is a quick and straightforward and inexpensive way to evaluate your strengths and development areas. It provides a wealth of information and insight about what behaviours and skills to focus on.
‘It was great to have external independent confirmation of my ‘Animator’ style of leadership. It gave my confidence a boost to know that one of my primary strengths is to see the ‘big picture’ version of the world as an interconnected web of relationships and possibilities of harmonious and positive environments for all to ‘Thrive’. It did remind me that I may sometimes overlook outcomes as I lead from the front, gaining the trust and support of others and concentrating on keeping the team together and excited about the task.’ Jodie Hill Founder & Managing Partner Thrive Law
I also include in this section of my Standalone Toolkit a yearly success log for you to continue to Document your Brilliance® as you grow.
Once you have a clear idea of your qualities and skills, you can start to craft your USP (Unique Selling Point) to highlight the relevant qualities for your service to stand out from the crowd and be memorable for the right reason.
Then it is worth checking to see if this is what others are seeing!
Then you must check to see how you are currently perceived
Some organisations carry out formal 360-degree assessments. These assessments contain feedback from your manager, colleagues and those that work for you. If your legal practice is one of the rare one that does, then it will provide you with an all-round picture of how you are perceived. In most law firms’ appraisals and informally asking for feedback about your ‘best’ quality is your route to valuable information.
As far as clients are concerned you can review any feedback forms and testimonials that you receive. Then complete the testimonial exercise in the toolkit to see what your external personal reputation is.
Once you have confirmed validation of your ‘brilliant’ qualities you then need to ensure that these matches the firm you are working in or your own practice’s brand. Both your personal and organisation’s brand will be visible as part of your service to your clients.
If there are any ‘surprises’, you can take corrective action to emphasise the ones you want to be recognised for.
Your Personal Brand journey
To recap, knowing you have a great personal brand enables you to market yourself internally if working for a large organisation and externally in all types of networking situations.
Don’t forget to add to your successes to your personal brand journey.
Here are some other ways I can help you develop and hone your personal brand
- These blogs are useful for your personal brand journey as they raise specific questions, which once answered can populate your USP:
- A Simple Technique for Building your Personal Reputation Capital
- How you answer these questions may provide further insight into your USP and personal brand –How to Gain Credibility in your 60 Second Introduction at Networking Events
- When you have updated your personal brand information, you need to review your LinkedIn profile too. This blog gives you 8 ways to improve your LinkedIn profile
- When you develop your personal brand, perhaps you will think it is time to start your own law firm.
- In my third book Business Skills? Don’t be daft I am a lawyer!, Section 3 Chapter 3 How does your personal brand help you in your marketplace documents the journeys of 29 legal business owners interviewed. This will also allow you to see what is currently working in legal services.
- My page on psychometric testing using MiRo provides you with independent information and insights on your strengths which will support you in identifying your USP and/or personal brand.
- My business coaching and mentoring programme provide you with an industry expert who will help you to fast track your personal brand and assist you translating this into your business or service
Contact me on 07921540039 for a no obligation chat about your needs.
Ann Page, Business Author, Trainer and Coach for the legal profession.
Ann Page, a Top 100 lawyer of the year (2003) has had a successful in-house 28-year career, working mainly in the financial sector. She switched from being a business lawyer in industry to a non-practising solicitor who teaches and coaches on business subjects in 2003. Since then, Ann has trained nearly 7000 lawyers on business skills including leadership, management and interpersonal skills. Ann has always been active in various professional committees and currently she is Treasurer of the Yorkshire Sole Practitioner’s Group, a member of the Professional Speaking Association, Professional Speaking Academy and Leeds Law Society.