There’s no shortage of law firms and lawyers, even those that operate in niche areas. To be heard over the noise of other qualified attorneys, it’s no longer enough just to be excellent at what you do — you have to treat your practice as though you’re building a brand.
That doesn’t just mean that you need to build a great looking website, or have a professionally-designed logo. You need to also need to examine what areas of your practice can help boost your profile, and establish you as a leader in your field. It’s also important that your methods are ethically sound — taking the all-too-common approach of smearing competitors is not smart, and it does little for your reputation. In an industry that is dependent upon trust, you need to build your brand on integrity.
So, what are some of the most effective approaches? We’re going to look at a few key areas of focus, along with some tools that can help you on your way to building a successful legal brand.
Provide Practical Advice
The services you offer are always going to be tailored to the specific legal needs of your client. However, using your expertise to shine a light on best practices before the client even steps foot in your office can help boost your profile in your field.
Consider writing blog posts on your website that take potential clients through frequently asked questions. If you specialize in criminal defense, address the common concerns that arise, such as whether it’s possible to avoid jail for a DUI conviction. Use a step-by-step format to examine what the options are, what factors could potentially affect the judge’s decision, and what alternative sentencing options may be applicable. Be concise, and be honest.
This isn’t about giving away your hard-earned expertise, gratis. Rather, this is practical information that:
- Helps potential clients take steps that help both them as a defendant, and you as their representative.
- Demonstrates your ability to guide clients through the legal framework with clarity and care.
- Highlights that even by taking these practical steps, engaging an expert attorney is essential to success.
Assert Your Expertise
Most attorneys have a niche. Establishing your brand is not necessarily about proving that you’re the best lawyer to ever take the bar. That said, it is important to show that you have the expert knowledge in your specialist area that makes your services a valuable investment.
Create content that explores the fine points of your industry. If your specialist area is trucking accident claims, create content that looks into how regulations such as those applicable to transporting oversized loads factor into everyday operations, and how these can develop into litigation. While some in the industry may already have a general working knowledge of what constitutes an oversized load, content of this nature helps to demonstrate how even small breaches can have consequences. Be sure to make these relevant to the workers and leaders of sectors you work with, and make them consumable as well as thorough.
Partner with others within your niche to create vlogs or podcasts. Collaboration of this nature not only helps to produce more varied content, but helps to make your brand more visible and recognizable as a trusted source in your field.
Build on Success
Being an attorney is a position of responsibility and care. People are coming to you at a time of need, and they have to be secure in the knowledge that you are consistently effective in what you do. In all your advertising, and with all interactions with clients, make sure to discuss how your guidance and resources are key to their success.
This can be particularly pertinent in cases such as rear end accidents, where there are occasionally circumstances in which the rear driver is not responsible. Be honest with your client about in what circumstances they may be found culpable. Help them to understand what resources can be used in order to help prove liability, such as CCTV footage and eyewitness accounts. Make it clear that the benefit of your experience and your understanding of the system is what will help them through what can be a complex process.
Your effectiveness, and your confident communication of how you navigate the law will help to build a solid reputation among your clients.
One of the ethical cornerstones of your legal brand must be understanding how you treat your clients. An important part of this is in the current climate is knowing that confidentiality shouldn’t just extend to the particulars of their case, but also their private data. Data has immense value, and is increasingly an area of concern.
Since January 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act has been in effect. This law has clear consequences for businesses who fail to uphold data standards that ensure consumers know what information a business holds on them, and prevents the sale of that data without permission, among others. However, even outside of that state legislation, you need to demonstrate that you are cognizant of their data privacy needs beyond mandatory requirements. Be up-front with clients about the potential uses of data, how you’d use it, and actively seek their permission for anything beyond standard uses.
This attention to the finer points of issues with which they may not entirely be familiar shows that you engender a culture of respect in every aspect of your practice. Make sure this is not just a point of discussion with your clients, but appears as a featured point on your website.
Tackle Public Interest Issues
Raising your profile ethically can also include taking the time to seek out or specialize in public interest issues. While those involving human rights and miscarriages of justice can of course bring short term media coverage, taking on commonplace but topical cases can make for a more sustainable impact on your reputation.
For example, distracted driving, particularly as a result of cell phone usage, is an issue of significant discussion. Laws have gradually started to come into effect — such as the outright ban on cellphone use while driving recently passed in Virginia — that seek to prevent accidents. However, there will continue to be victims of this hot button issue, and there are several legislative and practical components to claims that could hamper victims’ ability to get compensation they deserve.
Positioning yourself as an expert in navigating victims through claims of this nature can help to establish you as not only as a proponent of justice, but also a key resource in an issue of significant public discussion.
Conclusion – Do the Work
There is no quick and easy way to develop your legal brand. Investing in advertising and marketing can be effective, but this has to be supported by actions that bolster your profile, and position you as a trusted source of expertise.