5 Branding Tips For Solo Attorneys From Unlikely Sources

By Eddie Gamez - October 16, 2015
5 Branding Tips For Solo Attorneys From Unlikely Sources

Branding is a tough task that sometimes needs inspiration from elsewhere. Here are our top resources on branding tips for solo attorneys from non-lawyer sources.

The occupation of “lawyer” is often glamorized in movies and television when in reality,  it’s a difficult job that not many can do right.

You have to have somewhat of a finesse to handle the job.

However, in today’s market it can  be difficult for solo attorneys to demonstrate their unique value to potential clients. Differentiating yourself is key to the success of your practice.

This is where branding comes in.

As a solo attorney, you are your brand. Presenting yourself as a brand will help to separate you from the competition.

Building a brand means the difference between getting work and getting lost in the mix like a blond-haired, blue-eyed fashion model in New York City.

Today’s world is changing. This is  especially true in law, where solo attorneys are starting their solo practices much younger and may  be looking at other sources for advice or inspiration. Pop culture has a huge influence on how people think nowadays.

In truth, branding is universal, and we have found our five best  tips for new solo attorneys from some unlikely places.

1.  Be Authentic.

Our first tip comes from the SkinnyGirl herself, Bethenny Frankel.

Frankel’s claim to fame is the Real Housewives of New York City where she spent time catfighting with Kelly Killoren Bensimon, dropping hilarious one-liners, and figuring out how to get her SkinnyGirl Margarita off the ground and into consumer’s homes.

Frankel now owns a global brand and has branded herself as the “SkinnyGirl,” coming a long way from handing out samples of her own vegan cookies in a supermarket as a Real Housewife.

One might ask how Frankel’s success relates to a solo attorney? It’s because she is authentic!

Even as a cast member on the Real Housewives of New York City, Frankel has remained authentic through and through. She knows who she is and we as viewers know who she is. She’s always remained herself and never changed to please others or act how she thought she should.

Authenticity is key in branding yourself no matter what career path you take and for a solo, it’s fundamental to building the practice that you want.

One might say “being authentic” is too vague, but in reality, it says so much: you’re being yourself and not compromising your own truth.

An example would be picking a practice area to specialize. Maybe you have a passion for immigration law, which is not as lucrative as other practice areas such as commercial litigation?

You wouldn’t change over to commercial litigation just because it makes more money statistically, especially if that is not where your passion lies.

Do what feels true to you and sets you up to achieve your goals, not what will make you a buck in the short-term. You risk selling out once you lose your authenticity and your brand essentially turns into a house of cards that can topple at any moment.

2.  Work ethic and attitude is everything.

Chefs have a hard job, plain and simple, and while a chef’s and lawyer’s job descriptions are mutually exclusive, chef Marc Vetri said it perfectly: “work ethic and attitude is everything.”

In any profession, to build a brand, this means you are always willing to learn, work hard to achieve your goal, and you have a good attitude while doing it.

It’s the same for new solos because you are always learning as you go and truly don’t know everything. You make your services available and do the work to get those services noticed by marketing yourself correctly and going at it with an attitude that charms rather than turning people off.

When good work ethic and a positive attitude is built into your brand, it pays off. Maybe not immediately, but soon those referrals will be headed your way!

3.  Find Your Target Market.

Another Real Housewife made our list for tips in branding. This one comes from The Real Housewives of Orange County and  businesswoman, Vicki Gunvalson.

In addition to “whooping it up,” Gunvalson owns a successful insurance sales agency in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA.

How does insurance sales relate to the solo attorney? It’s actually quite simple because like it or not, attorneys are in the business of sales. You are getting paid to sell your legal services should people need them.

After seeing her father pass and the financial mess it created, Gunvalson knew she wanted to help others plan for the unplanned. She achieved her success in part by finding her target market.

Attorneys should know their target market by understanding their ideal client’s needs. Maybe your target market is a high-end divorce clientele or non-profit charities?
Know who your most desired client is and how to build relationships with them. Be okay with discriminating a little to get what you want to achieve because trying to market yourself to everyone might produce an undesired result.

4.  Be an empowering and trustworthy leader of your local community.

When you think of law, the beauty industry may not be the first thing that comes to mind. In a sense, lawyers are similar to hair stylists in that they must build relationships with their clients.

Tabatha Coffey, an expert hair stylist and host of Tabatha Takes Over knows this to be true as she has owned and sold her own salon and helped to mentor many other professionals in the industry.

One of her tips for success is to own that role as an empowered and trustworthy leader in your local community.

Lawyers are symbols of trust when it comes to the community. In many respects, your hair stylist is a symbol of trust as well.

We trust our haircare professionals to do their job of helping us manage our hair, but we also build relationships with the conversations we have with them. They sometimes know more secrets than our own friends!

Not only do lawyers provide a service, but they are entrusted with a lot of information and showing your community you are trustworthy helps you better market your brand.

Always work on building trust within your brand because a brand that appears trustworthy is easier to sell and achieve a desired result.  

5.  Stay relevant.

Our last and probably most important tip comes from the late Joan Rivers.

Rivers’ claim to fame is stand-up comedy and she enjoyed one of the most fruitful careers compared to other comedians.

Joan did this by staying relevant.

Relevance is a concept that is easy to understand but is often difficult to implement. It means you always have something up your sleeve even when times change.

No matter the audience or the decade, Joan always had something to say and made us love her whether she was bashing celebrities or making fun of her own plastic surgery.  

Solo attorneys can learn a thing or two from Joan. Just like comedians, a solo’s relevance lies in what they have to offer to their target market.

Being relevant can affect every part of your practice. Maybe your practice decided to go green for organization or environmental purposes? Maybe the office space you use no longer accommodates your growing business needs? Or perhaps the area of law you practice needs to be more specialized?

Our relevance applies to our community and if our services seem outdated or not of use, they may look elsewhere.

Be sure to make adjustments as you go to help your brand keep up instead of having to make major changes all at once. Doing a major overhaul risks completely changing your brand identity to your community instead of evolving it.

Building a brand takes a lot of time and effort, whether you are a solo attorney, comedian, or hair stylist. Using these tips and tailoring them to your solo attorney brand can help propel you to the brand you want to be.

Do you have any thoughts on branding? Give us your tips and comment below!

About Eddie Gamez

Eddie Gamez is a Law Firm Suites staff writer and stand-up comedian. You can follow him on Twitter (EddieDGamez) if you need a laugh.

2 thoughts on “5 Branding Tips For Solo Attorneys From Unlikely Sources

  1. Solomon Ewuga
    on said:

    The issue of community gets me interested in the branding process as it is key to getting things done. With people you business is done and the best way to do it is on a quid pro quo basis: giving something back to the community. Interestingly the community is as pliant to a warm relationship as they are obstinate to a bad leadership. As has always been the position, a good lawyer is a community leader, who must be focused while engendering support and goodwill by being faithful to the community and their values. Nothing breeds succes better than this.

    • Eddie Gamez
      on said:

      Solomon, that is exactly true. Community is a huge factor to branding, especially as a solo attorney. Community can be the potential clients in your area or even the attorneys in your shared office space. How you work that community to cultivate strong relationships impacts your status as a trustworthy leader, something lawyers need to exude.

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