Taking the time to develop a personal professional brand is something all professionals should consider doing and lawyers should be no different. In my experience, lawyers who work in private practice generally understand the importance of building a personal professional brand because it is so closely tied to business development and growing a successful law practice. Lawyers who work in-house, however, generally do not spend much time building a personal professional brand because they do not feel the same pressure as those lawyers in private practice. To the extent in-house lawyers put any energy into developing a brand, they often focus that energy on building the company brand. In-house lawyers who take this approach do so at their own peril. When the in-house employment ends, the in-house lawyer who has not taken the time to build a personal professional brand may struggle to find a new role because their identity has been tied only to a company for which they no longer work.
There is nothing that says that in-house lawyers cannot develop a personal professional brand while also developing the company brand. Done correctly, it can be a win-win proposition for both the in-house lawyer and the company for which they are working. If you are one of those in-house lawyers, it is never too late to reconsider developing a personal professional brand. It is not an all or nothing proposition.
WHAT IS PERSONAL PROFESSIONAL BRANDING ANYWAY?
Personal professional branding is the process by which you showcase your unique skills, abilities, experience, and personality for all professionals in your chosen industry to see. When personal professional branding is done well, industry leaders will come to know who you are, what you stand for, and what you are capable of accomplishing.
WHY IS CREATING A PERSONAL PROFESSIONAL BRAND IMPORTANT?
When you take the time to develop and cultivate your own brand, you are giving yourself greater control over your career. With a well thought out and carefully considered brand, you will also invite opportunity to come your way because:
- You will make yourself known to influential people within your industry;
- You will assume control over your own personal career narrative by showing your skills, abilities, and strengths;
- You will be better able to stand out from the crowd; and
- You will have a greater opportunity to build relationships with like-minded people who value your skill and who will see you as an industry expert.
HOW DO YOU CREATE A PERSONAL PROFESSIONAL BRAND?
- Shine a spotlight on what you do.
- Become recognizable.
- Leverage the power of social media.
For all the talented in-house lawyers out there with their head down working hard and fighting the good fight, I want to leave you with this. Pump up the volume. Get this party started. You have no idea the opportunities that will come your way when you make building a personal professional brand a priority.
For the full article, check out my article on Above the Law.