Legal Business Development: “You Had Me at Hello!”

What lawyer wouldn’t want to hear these words from a prospective client? “You had me at hello!” A personal brand is what gets you there. Most lawyers can’t conceive of themselves as a brand. But, let me tell you… YOU already have a personal brand! And I guarantee… 99.9% never give it a thought. Everything one does, adds to his or her personal brand… positively or negatively. But we don’t often see it that way.

The question here is… can you change your personal brand? Sure you can. You can create it with purpose. Ask yourself these questions. What does your personal brand represent to the world? Is it substantive? Does it reflect your strength and your expertise? Is it what you WANT to project? Are you proud of the traits your brand represents?

Why should you want to intentionally build a personal brand? It differentiates you… you will stand out from the crowd. It helps you be remarkable, YES… worth making a remark about.

Legal business development is easier when your personal brand is memorable. People know what they can count on you for, time and time again… “You have them at hello!” Ask yourself… Is your personal brand working for you? If not, it’s time to adjust. Here are five action steps to get you started.

1. Consider an attitude adjustment.

What are the images you carry around in your head? What are the words you tell yourself and others? Are they the images you want to project?

Are they something like?

  • I’m too busy… or I WILL make time?
  • This isn’t ever going to happen… or I WILL make this happen?
  • I don’t know what I want… or I KNOW what I want?

What is your mindset? Confidence is what you think and tell yourself and others… it is what breeds trust in your abilities. Believe it! You have a choice… That is your personal brand!

2. Do what you say you are going to do.

  • If you commit to being in a meeting… be there… not on your PDA!
  • If you tell your clients that you are responsive… make sure you are, ALL the time!
  • If you commit to writing articles or blogging, make a schedule… and just do it!
  • If you tell your family you will be home… be home and be present!

Focus… The benefit of accountability is increased credibility. Colleagues, friends and family can count on your word. When you make a commitment to yourself… keep that too!  Make BIG commitments and keep them… That is your personal brand!

3. Game Changing Promises… “I will” and “I will never.”

Seth Godin calls it “Delivering on Never”. He suggests…

  • I will never miss a deadline.
  • I will never fail to warn you about a pitfall.
  • I will never violate a confidence.
  • I will never be late for a meeting.

Imagine the power in these statements. Now, some of you are breaking out in a cold sweat, I am sure. But think about it… YOU are in control of many aspects of your practice, and if you focused on making something happen YOU could do it… couldn’t you?

What could YOUR commitment be? What do YOU have control over in order to deliver… or NEVER do? What do your clients really want and value? Think long and hard about these questions since the answers could truly be game changing… That is your personal brand!

4. Take on responsibility.

Some people wait to be invited, appointed, begged or cajoled into signing up for a project. They sit in the back of the room hoping they won’t be called on… does it sound familiar?

What most people don’t realize is that there is far more to gain when you take responsibility for a project. Some people see this crystal clear. What sets them apart is their sense of responsibility for their own future. It’s passion and commitment, with a drive to succeed. And it’s taking on responsibility to contribute to the greater good. So… I ask… are you sitting in the back of the room hoping YOU won’t get called on? Stand up and take on responsibility… That is your personal brand!

5. Build a strong online presence. 

When you are recommended to others they WILL Google you. So what will they find? Are you proud of the content that shows up on the 1st page of Google? If not download my FREE E-BookBe a Celebrity in Your Own World. It’s a 4-part strategy:

  • Write articles… post them on article directories, start with JDSupra.
  • Give speeches… repurpose your articles for speeches.
  • Participate in social media… write a blog. There is no better way to solidify your personal brand than a blog… contact Lexblog.
  • Write a book… it can build your credibility in the strongest way.

A powerful online presence will establish credibility, increase visibility and differentiate you from your competition… That is your personal brand! 

An intentionally built personal brand makes it easier to develop business. You first have to make a commitment… the kind of commitment that is uncompromising. Then make a plan… you need to know where you are headed. What do you want to be known for? What do you want people to think when they hear your name? Next get into action… do something every single day. Show the world you are who you say you are and do it little step by little step.

No, it isn’t easy… but becoming a lawyer wasn’t either. Legal business development will be less arduous if you have a strong personal brand… persona… reputation… OR whatever you would like to call it. It is easier for people to send you referrals or want to hire you when they can clearly understand your personal brand.

Black Pearl: It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be, by the world’s top advertising guru, Paul Arden. He shares his wisdom to succeed in business and life in general. It’s quirky…but I guarantee you it will make you think. Oh yes… and laugh a bit, too.


  1. Patrick McKenna

    Paula: A great title. An excellent article. Thank you. You definitely had me at hello. Patrick