The 6 Reasons Why Your Personal Brand as a Legal Professional is Failing (And How to Rectify It)
- November 5, 2019
As a legal professional, you take your career seriously.
You may well already have a personal brand that you’ve spent time developing. Mapping it out will have made you more self-aware and knowledgeable, as well as signalling to Senior Partners and Managers that you are the ideal candidate for the next promotion opportunity.
Establishing yourself as a go-to for specialist legal knowledge has made you the person everyone looks to for advice. Your brand indicates your strengths, capabilities and enables you to stand out above the competition.
In short, few things are more critical to building a successful legal career than having a strong personal brand.
So, what could go wrong?
Sometimes, your personal brand can slip and work against you, preventing you from moving forward in your career. So, it’s wise to look out for these tell-tale signs that your brand is failing – and how you can rectify it before any damage occurs.
1. Your Goals Are Too Vague
Why are you building your brand? What are your end goals?
A vague “I want to become a leader” isn’t clear enough. You need to have a definite goal in mind. Be it achieving a Senior Partnership, Managerial role or Senior Solicitor within your Law Firm, having a clear objective will help you focus and plan on how exactly you’re going to get there.
And understanding why you want to develop your personal brand will keep you on track too.
2. You’re Neglecting ‘Real’ Interactions
Blogging and vlogging may be all the rage, but are you neglecting the more traditional channels of communication?
It’s tempting to follow the herd, and there’s nothing wrong with having an online presence it’s essential (more on this later), but it’s also worth considering other ways to get your brand across.
Keynote speaking at law events, networking at conferences or writing a guest piece for a legal publication – all these can help establish your personal legal profile. Face to face interactions have a lot more impact than online relationships – so make sure you utilise both well for maximum impact.
3. You Don’t Practice What You Preach
While we’re talking about interactions, considering your interactions with your team in the workplace is crucial to maintaining your personal brand. Having one persona for the outside world and another in the office isn’t going to cut it.
How you treat your legal team is going to directly affect how they view you. Consistency in your communication, from important meetings to casual chats in the hallway, is crucial.
Be aware of your communication style, actively listen and make time for your staff. They are the ones who will bolster your position and recommend you to others, thus building your credibility.
4. It’s All About You
Hopefully, you don’t have any controversial tweeting habits, but when online it’s ideal to mix promotion of yourself with legal industry knowledge that conveys your expertise without it seeming as though you are endlessly indulging in ‘over the top’ self-promotion. In other words, the Goldilocks effect: not too much, not too little.
Ideally, 10 per cent of your posts should be about you (for example, recent achievements or awards) and the rest should highlight current legal news and trends, provoking discussion and sharing your perspective on things that are happening in the legal world.
And it goes without saying – keep your private life private, and your professional life professional online. Mixing the two is inviting trouble.
Be mindful that it may not be something you write on your personal feed that will damage your reputation, but it could be a controversial response from a friend; from political comments to excessive personal information – keep it off your professional profile.
5. You Don’t Stick to Your Promises
If you promised to appear as a speaker at an event, you wouldn’t not show up, would you?
Similarly, if you guarantee an in-depth article to your online followers every week, you need to ensure its there. If you fail to keep your promises, even at this level, you will lose the trust of followers and damage your brand.
So, think carefully before you promise articles, videos and twitter posts and ensure that you can fit them into your schedule.
6. You Don’t Follow Up
Credibility is built on consistency, so being constantly mindful of behaviour is critical.
Putting your brand ‘out there’ but failing to keep consistency is going to damage your brand. You’ve got your LinkedIn profile updated and your articles written for your blog posts – what else can you do?
Just as you would if you were marketing your law firm, you need a marketing strategy for your brand (remember the goals we talked about earlier?) Consistent messages and actions keep your sense of identity and credibility going and help power you towards those goals.
Maintaining your identity online and in-person will add value to your propositions and opinions.
That way, you will establish your professionalism and earn the trust of peers, colleagues and industry professionals to build authenticity and make the most of your personal brand.
If you’re reading this article because you are looking for the next move in your legal career, call one of the Clayton Legal team on 01772 259 121 and let’s have a conversation to explore your options. With our help, your transition can be smoother and quicker.
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.