I have a legitimate question and one that I believe should be on your mind right now if you intend to have a successful career practicing law. What separates you from the other 1.33 million attorneys in the United States? Do you practice criminal law; personal injury; civil law; real estate; business law; or, one of the many other areas? That may narrow it down some if you identify your areas of practice. But, what then? You are then one of many in a particular field or practice area?
Now, think about this: what are you known for in your field beyond your areas of expertise? Can you get along with people? Are you known for being difficult? Do you show up to court prepared? Do you wing it? How about your legal writing? What is the quality of your research? How do you present yourself in court, meetings, depositions or mediations?
Branding! A brand is a product or service that takes on its own identity. Call it reputation if you want. Your brand is what you are known for. I believe an attorney building a brand is equally as important as any product's brand. The brand can either attract clients or turn them away. Or, if you do not have a brand, then you may just exist among the other 1.33 million attorneys out there.
Becoming a successful attorney requires much more than knowing the law. I think you have to show up every day. Be able to communicate. Be understanding. Be responsive. Be attentive. Dress the part. Play the part. Be confident. Every day, whether you feel like it or now, be prepared to get the job done!
Business is competitive. Building a brand is a part of the competition. I believe branding yourself and your business is something you have to fight for and work on every day, in and out of the office; in and out of the courtroom. When the brand is strong, that's when the clients are likely to look to you for your services. No doubt, it takes work, but when you do the work, the work will take care of you.
Tommy Santel is a co-founding partner of Parkerson Santel PLLC. Tommy is a former government prosecutor. He is a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 General Civil Mediator. Tommy’s practice areas include criminal defense and civil litigation.
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