Success is built on and sustained by a confidence-inspiring personal brand.
Personal branding has become a catch-all term, encompassing the attorney as a person and as a professional with practice area expertise. Legal prowess, reflected in the professional brand, will get most lawyers only so far. Focus as much attention on your brand as a person as you do your professional brand. If referral sources – including people you meet at networking events and past clients – are uncomfortable with you as a person, your business is guaranteed to suffer. People have other choices.
Behavioral characteristics guaranteed to limit your professional brand:
- Rude, abrasive or abrupt, regardless of the audience
- Arrogant and dismissive
- Disinterest and impatience during conversation, particularly if the focus is not centered on you
- Unreasonably late to respond to communications or no response, and non-responsive content related to a specific request when you do respond
- Gossip, including innuendo; so-called humor at the expense of others
- Incessant reference to an electronic device
Behaviors confused as manifesting a “cool” quotient:
- Over use of jargon or techno slang
- Barely disguised boredom
- Sloppy written communications
- The hipster slouch
- Communications ostentatiously made from a bar, the Giants game, or the aisles at the Safeway.
Behaviors more likely to build a professional brand, community and referrals:
- Genuine interest in the practice areas of other attorneys
- Polite attention to clients, opposing counsel, court or administrative staff…really, everyone
- Reasonably timely, thoughtful responses to inquiries (these need not be lengthy)
- Communications with zero tolerance for grammatical and spelling errors. No exception for phone email messaging or texting.
- Competence and integrity