If you’re working in a law firm and trying to develop your personal brand and a client base of your own, do you know how to do it? If not, this is going to be the show for you.
I recently got a question from a viewer: “If you’re an associate working in a law firm, what should you be doing to build your personal brand and a book of business as your career is getting underway?” This could even apply to a partner working in a law firm that doesn’t have a book of business at this stage.
Let me start by saying that you do not have to own a law firm to have a personal brand in the legal space.
You can be an associate all the way up to a partner and have a very unique personal brand, all while still working at a much larger law firm.
So, there are really two steps that you should be taking to develop a personal brand that will ultimately bring in business for you.
The first is identifying a unique or niche area of practice that you can deliver services on. And the second is building content around that niche to be distributed internally to your own firm, and then externally to the rest of the world.
1. Identify a unique niche.
We are no longer living in a day and age where you can be a generalist attorney. We’re all really good at one thing.
I’m a trademark attorney, so I’m really good at trademarks. I’m not good at anything else and I know that. Just like I identified my expertise with trademarks, you need to identify what your unique area of law will be.
Now, if you take a general area of law, like employment law, you may not be good at everything in employment law. You may have to find the niche of the nich. But think about what area of law can you provide helpful and detailed knowledge on.
What do you know like the back of your hand that not many people know or what can you learn about that not many people know? Once you’ve figured out what this area is going to be, the next step here in developing this niche practice is having a flat rate service or services that you can deliver.
I talk a lot about flat rates in other episodes because I think they are so effective in being able to sell legal work. They can also can be extremely profitable if you price them the right way.
Let’s say you can develop a particular service in employment law that you can offer for $3,000. For example, maybe you can develop an employee handbook for somebody and then you can do quarterly training for executives on how to hire and fire employees. For the entire year, there’s a flat rate for that program and every business client your firm has, you can now pitch that program to because it’s going to be increase the chances they’re not going to get sued for some sort of employment issue. This is just one example. Think of anything you can do in your niche area.
If I’m a trademark attorney, what I can offer is a complimentary trademark audit and then for a flat fee offer trademark filings or maintenance on trademark portfolios on a yearly basis. I can come up with all these different types of services that if my partners and other associates in the firm know I can do really well when they’re talking to a client, they can direct them to me.
You need to really develop not only your niche, but then the services you can deliver at a flat rate. Get the ball rolling and be the go-to person for something.
2. Develop content.
Once you’ve established your niche and your flat rate offerings, you need to start to develop content.
Content really has a couple of different stages.
The first stage is writing, because that’s going to be the easiest in all likelihood for any lawyer. You don’t need a camera or a microphone, you just need a computer.
Start writing about your general area of practice, about the services you can deliver, even about news around your area of practice.
Hopefully, your firm has a blog. If it doesn’t, you’re going to need to be the driving force behind getting one going. And if your firm doesn’t like the idea of doing a blog, you’re probably not at a very good firm where you’re going to be able to develop your personal brand.
If they do have a blog, maybe even request a unique section of the blog or your own standalone blog that goes over your particular niche.
Circulate your blog posts internally first, so that everyone in your firm can think of you as the go-to guy or gal for something. After all, if your own firm doesn’t believe in you, nobody else is going to.
What I would suggest then is part two of the content: video and podcasts.
You need to go to a videographer and you need to start recording videos about what you can do and about the general area of practice that you’re operating in. You could even build a studio on site, like I did. That might take a little bit more convincing of management, but other attorneys can use it to crank out content then as well. And I think you’d find that management might even be very open to it if you explain that it would probably be cheaper in the long run than hiring a videographer every time you want to record a video.
What do you do with all this content? Send it out into the world. Post on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Run advertising for your posts, videos, and podcast. You need to ensure your firm has a good search engine optimization campaign, so your content that you’re producing shows up when people are searching online for things.
When you’re developing content, you’ve got the written word, you’ve got the spoken word in podcast, and then you’ve got videos, which is kind of the holy grail these days and the most difficult to do. But if you do video well and you distribute it well, now all of a sudden you’re going to be get a lot of people in the outside world seeing you and hopefully calling you for your services.
Now, you may say, ”Josh, this all sounds great, but this is going to be super time-consuming.” And that’s true, but listen to me. There are very few people out there that are going to be take the time to do all this because you can’t do this during your 9 to 5 job as an attorney. All this content building I’m talking about is going to be done on the nights and weekends, because the firm’s not going to be want you to take half your day to do this.
I can tell you that very few associates are ever going to be take the time to try to build their own personal brand and you’re going to be stand out at a law firm if you do that.
I have built a studio in our office. I have a blog that ranks really well. But I cannot get our attorneys to write regularly, do a video regularly, think about a podcast. They’re so wrapped up in their day-to-day work. I know they’re busy, but if they really wanted to go out there and build a personal brand, nights and weekends would be devoted to doing that. And building a personal brand does bring value to the firm you’re working at. But where it really does is brings value to you long-term. Because if anything ever happens and you leave that firm, that personal brand goes with you. They can’t keep it.
I think investing in folks that are working at our firm is the most important thing we should do. And I think any firm you’re at should feel the same way. If they don’t, you need to really think about the quality of management at your firm.
If you’ve got good management and you start really pounding the pavement to put this content together and start actually generating work, you are going to be a standout star. Your career is going to be advancing so much faster than anybody around you who’s going home at the end of the night and just checking out. If you really want to get ahead and you really want to make a difference in your career, this is how you’re going to do it.
For what it’s worth, it’s how I did it in mine. I started my own law practice 12 years ago and it has been a 24/7 job ever since. I’m not saying that’s for everybody, but I have a lot of fun doing it. I go to sleep at night thinking about what content we’re going to be do next. I wake up in the morning thinking about what’s the first step of the day got to be for business. If you’re going to do this, you’ve got to be all in. You’re going to be miss trips, you’re going to miss social events with friends. You’re not going to be able to be out drinking until 2:00 AM because you need to get your butt up on Saturday morning early to do content.
I hope you found all this helpful, and I think it’s an incredible opportunity and an incredible age we live in that if you want to take advantage and build a personal brand and advance your legal career and start being your own rainmaker, you’re going to be give yourself incredible job security and an incredible career.
If you have any further questions, you can always reach out to me on social media. I’m happy to answer any questions in a future video.
We’re on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll talk to you next time.