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How to Develop Your Personal Legal Brand This Year

Posted by: Lynn Sedgwick
If you want to succeed in your legal career, then you need to cultivate a personal brand.

An impressive personal brand doesn’t just signal to your senior leaders and colleagues that you’re someone on the way up; the very process of working on your personal brand also makes you more self-aware, more knowledgeable, and more disciplined, making you a clear choice for promotion.

With this in mind, here are some key strategies to build your legal brand this year.

Identify Your Strengths and Talents And How You Can Use Them

The first step is figuring out where your talents and strengths lie. Are you collaborative, inspirational, motivational, managerial, or transformational? Furthermore, what particular special skills do you have that will be attractive to this business when you become a leader? Do you have a large network? Are you particularly IT savvy, or are you good at digital strategy?

Once you’ve established what your personal brand’s strengths are, you’ll need to match them with your firm’s culture and business need. Once you have a clear idea of how your skills and style match the firm’s goals, you can develop them further and work on your ‘pitch’ for promotion.

In considering how you might best implement your talents, think about becoming ‘the person who helps.’ Certain people can influence the success of your promotion attempt—the most obvious being your direct manager. Consider how you can help that person in their role right now so that you are then perceived as an individual who really does add value.

Additionally, consider how you can help others in your team, as these people may well be consulted when it’s promotion time, and the more friends you have ‘on your side,’ the better.

Smarten Up Your Online Presence And Network

Nothing will diminish your professional power as much as an unprofessional online presence. Those rowdy facebook pictures need to be managed—either be exceedingly careful with your privacy settings, change your profile name to a nickname, or get rid of Facebook altogether.

Do an audit of your online presence by Googling yourself and doing damage control on anything that might be viewed as unprofessional by the senior leaders in your firm.

While you’re at it, get some professional headshots done and update your LinkedIn profile, so it reflects where you want to go. You could also join some relevant online groups that might prove professionally advantageous. Consider a website of your own, if you have something to say that builds your professional credibility.

Spend as much time as you can networking with competent and respected legal professionals in your field; the more connections you build with relevant people in your field, the more your reputation will grow. In addition to taking advantage of industry events and online networking platforms, you can also seek the guidance of a specialist recruitment company like Clayton Legal.

Increase Your Value Through Continued Education

One of the most crucial things to remember about your personal brand is that it's continually evolving. As the legal sector evolves with new technology and trends, it's up to you to make sure that you're staying ahead of the curve if you want to stand out in your legal career.

A continued commitment to education and keeping up-to-date with the current trends will make sure that you're always building a relevant personal brand. Part of your training might include soft skills, like working on your teamwork or communication strategies. Other times, you'll need to evaluate your technical skills and decide whether they're starting to go out of date.

A great way to make sure that you're on track is to compare your CV to the job listings relevant to your interests. You'll notice if specific requirements in those specs begin to change over time. For instance, most firms are now looking for legal secretaries who have experience with using digital dictation software in addition to having superb all-around IT skills.

Ongoing education will simultaneously keep your personal brand up-to-date and show both your current and potential employers that you're committed to your legal career. An employee (or potential candidate) who is always signing up for seminars and networking events is far more valuable and compelling than someone who shows very little interest in actively developing their legal career.

Ask Where You Need To Be Developed

Sometimes, there might be a behaviour or skill gap you exhibit that is barring your way to promotion, and yet you may not even be aware of it. For example, you might be brilliant at managing multiple caseloads as a commercial property solicitor, but lack the necessary interpersonal skills required to effectively interview, advise or negotiate with clients or other professionals to secure agreed objectives.

Another consideration is that the leadership in your law firm might not even be aware that you want a promotion because you’ve never told them. Take an opportunity to sit down with them – perhaps at your next performance appraisal – and make your goals and ambitions clear. In stating your case, make sure that you ask them what they believe you could work on to achieve your goals. Be welcoming of any feedback – no matter how uncomfortable – and then start working on a plan to develop yourself (and your brand) accordingly.

Your manager will also walk away from the meeting clear on your ambitions and will be able to advise you on the steps you’ll need to take to help you move towards your stated goals.

The potential to build your personal brand is immense; the only limits are your own motivation and imagination. We hope these strategies have given you some food for thought and perhaps set you on the right path toward achieving your career goals.

 

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year download our latest guide here.

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