With an ever-growing, changing and competitive legal sector, it has become a necessity to build a personal brand to succeed, says Kate O’Grady, Watts McCray director.
“To be successful and to stand out from the crowd it is imperative to build your personal brand of who you are as a lawyer, what your skills and experiences are, what kind of person you are, what kind of cases you deal with and what kind of clients you are looking for,” she says.
Lawyers who successfully build their brand have several advantages over their peers, she says.
“If you do this successfully you will stand out from the crowd, you will be visible in a sea of other choices, [and] you will maximise the chances of getting the best kind of clients – clients that know what kind of lawyer you are and what to expect of you,” she says. “Best of all, if you build your brand and are true to your brand, you will get the best kind of referrals, personal referrals from existing or previous clients or from other third parties who refer you the kind of clients you are looking for.”
O’Grady says that building a brand has become essential because engaging a lawyer is such a personal decision.
“Your lawyer is someone that you disclose confidential and sensitive information to and someone that you need to trust to look after your interests and to fight for you and your family. Building a successful personal brand in the legal sector helps to build trust and confidence,” she says.
To start building a personal brand, O’Grady says lawyers must answer these questions.
“What do you stand for? What are you passionate about? What are you good at? What are your areas of expertise? What sets you apart from the crowd? What can you offer to clients that other people can't? What kind of clients do you want? What kind of cases do you want?”
she says. “Figure these core things out first and then build your brand around them and be true to them in your practice. Building networks with the right people are crucial.”
O’Grady is part of the morning panel sharing career advancement advice from industry trailblazers at the upcoming Women in Law Summit, which will be held at The Westin Sydney on 7 August. Early Bird registrations are still open for the event. The packed schedule features experts discussing a wide array of topics, including being a champion for change, balancing career and personal life, and applying flexible work practices to drive industry change.
O’Grady says that events like the Women in Law Summit are important for all legal professionals to participate in.
“Women make up the majority of lawyers in Australia; however, still face discrimination in our industry and face challenges on a daily basis that our male counterparts don't. It is important that these issues are discussed, addressed and that the profession works together for gender equality and diversity across the legal sector,” she says. “Events like the Women in Law Summit are vital for the profession as a whole, not just women. For true change, the legal profession as a whole need to work together, but we need to know what works, what doesn't and what we can do to make true changes.”
She says that lawyers must be inspired and educated to lead in changing the industry for good, and that events like these also serve as great networking opportunities.
“These events provide an invaluable opportunity to learn from industry trailblazers – those leading the way in innovative workplace practices and to learn real practical ways to bring about real change in your own practice, your workplace and within the industry as a whole,” she says. “The Women in Law Summit is also a fantastic networking opportunity with so many amazing lawyers in one room! If you are a lawyer, particularly a female lawyer, and looking for a professional network or mentor, this is definitely an event for the calendar.”