Sunday, October 30, 2011

Should Lawyers Have a Personal Brand?

Until I facilitated and spoke about branding at two different lawyer events last week, I wasn't convinced the word "brand" was a relevant concept for lawyers. I didn't even think it worked very well for law firms. While the word reputation seemed more accessible, brand seemed a very amorphous concept that marketing consultants push, with law firms re-branding by changing their logo, colors, tag line and web design. Working through preparation and discussions last week, however, persuaded me that the concept of a "brand" has relevance and value for lawyers.

Brand and branding have hundreds of different definitions. It's easiest for me to think of a brand as the essence or promise of what will be delivered or experienced.


Lawyers shoud have a personal brand in the sense that you should figure out what the consistent experiences and expectations are that people have with you as a lawyer and what you want them to be. Ideally you want them aligned.

Lawyers don't need to have a personal brand in the sense of something you describe to someone else. You don't have to be able to tell a prospective client your "brand identity." It isn't a question people ask each other.

For example, Nike doesn't say action, athleticism, performance, excellence and success are its brand. But those are words that capture the essence of Nike athletic apparel and the image that Nike conveys in its marketing. By making sure that its products live up to this image, Nike maintains its brand and the consumer knows what he or she will receive every single time he or she purchases a Nike product.

Capture the Essence

Like Nike, Apple or McDonald's, consider what words capture the essence of you as a lawyer and the consistent experience you want people to have with you as their lawyer. Those words won't necessarily appear in your tag line, elevator speech, website bio, LinkedIn profile, introductions when you speak or author notes when you write an article. But self-reflection will better focus you on your strengths and core values as a lawyer, the services you offer, your reputation, image, style, real interests and fit with your best clients. You will have more clarity on who you are as a lawyer and the consistent experience you provide for your clients.

The Compelling You

With this clarity you can create a more compelling website or website bio instead of using the same buzz words as every other law firm. You can rework your self-introduction to sound more like you. You can write a better personal business plan for 2012 or speak more confidently and directly during your next evaluation.

The clarity and focus will help because you will realize what you do well, what is important to you, how you connect with your clients and colleagues and why they keep coming back to you.

After you identify your brand, you can build brand awareness by raising your visibility and name recognition. Become known by your target market and potential referral sources for the consistency of the services and experiences you provide.


Getting focused and clear on your brand helps you attract more business, advance professionally and have more control over your day, practice and career. Regardless of whether you are in a law firm, corporation, government or elsewhere, a new lawyer or an experienced one, identifying your brand is time well spent.

If you are ready for coaching on branding, please contact me.