If anyone has the most to gain from personal branding right now, it’s law firms. No question.
Personal branding strategies can help firms attract a larger applicant pool, improve firm retention and decrease burnout and support the promotion of lawyers within a firm.
In order to drive revenue, firms need to do two things: retain top talent and attract ideal clients.
And these two factors go hand in hand. Without enough talent, a firm can’t take on enough clients. Without enough clients, a firm can’t grow and hire additional talent.
People want to work for companies that share their values and who value them in turn. They want to work for people who they can relate to. Although law firms have gotten better at DEI in terms of recruitment and retention, 90% of top law firm leaders are white and 81% are male.
This discrepancy coupled with the fact that younger lawyers are facing more burnout than ever can affect DEI efforts to recruit and retain people of color and people from marginalized communities.
Meanwhile, clients want to hire firms they trust. Clients base their decisions off referrals, reputation and lately, the content they can find online. (Ahem, a robust personal brand platform and clarity in message.)
When I think about law firms, I generally tend to think about the stereotypical, soulless, hour-stacking, money making machines. And I’m not the only one—people have historically had little trust in lawyers according to Gallup. This is not a great starting place for law firms.
Personal branding can generate credibility and shape reputation, target a specific ideal client and create overall greater visibility.
Don’t you mean ‘Public Relations’?
At SimplyBe. Agency we are not strangers to utilizing PR strategies for our clients. Public relations gets your name out there and brings visibility to your brand. But that doesn’t happen (at least, not effectively) when you have no brand to begin with. That’s why we are first and foremost a personal branding agency.
Let’s say you’re a partner at a growing law firm. Going beyond your firm’s area of expertise, what is your firm’s unique mission? What makes you different from any other law firm?
On a more granular level, does your firm have an updated website that media articles can link to? Do you have an online presence across multiple platforms that people can follow? Is there a consistent style and voice that represents your firm’s mission and identity? Is there a face behind the name on the door? Is there a human behind the name—one with a mission, with values, with principles?
Should you have a strong personal brand presence, these are questions that your audience and future clients don’t even need to ask.
It’s a long game.
Having an online presence is not an option these days. It’s as crucial as having a phone number.
But let’s say your firm has all that already. What need is there for personal branding?
PR can help you get an interview with a journalist today. But personal branding allows YOU to be the journalist in order to shape your narrative and build your platform indefinitely.
For law firms, ongoing content creation in the form of blogs, videos, and active social media activity can build credibility and reputation and attract your ideal audience and clients over time.
At the end of the day, people do business with people.
Let’s go back to our example…
You’re a managing partner at a growing law firm. You are one of the faces of the firm. Discovering and creating your personal brand increases not only your visibility as a thought leader in your field but also the visibility of your firm.
Discovering and creating your authentic personal brand does more than just bring visibility. It magnetizes you to the right audience and the right opportunities. People are drawn to authenticity. An authentic personal brand leads to stronger networks and stronger networks lead to future clients.
Many firms want lawyers who can bring in their own clients. Encouraging opportunities for younger lawyers to create their own authentic personal brands will set them on the path to build their own networks and personal value. This can bring in more business to the firm and assist with promotions to higher leadership levels.
If nothing else, embracing your authentic self and identifying your drive can alleviate stress and reduce levels of burnout according Katy Goshtabi.
So start now.
Investing in personal branding can give both you and your firm an edge. It’s a company investment that will yield evergreen results on client and talent acquisition and it’s a personal investment that will outlive any career.