Business Development Goals Planning

“B” is for branding for the 21st century lawyer

Written by Paulette Pommells

Success as a lawyer is often defined by the ability to adapt to change – whether planned or not. My clients prefer to be in the driver’s seat when managing change, especially if it relates to their career. This is who I call the 21st Century Lawyer.

One common type of change I work with is whether to switch practice areas, move firms or leave the law entirely.

With much angst attached to such a decision, many are looking for a quick answer. I like to take a step back and paint a picture first…

An entrepreneur builds a business for profit. This business is built on some sort of value, whether selling a product or service. As a lawyer, you sell legal knowledge and experience to organizations or individuals for profit. That profit can be money, but it can also be for some other valuable return, like quality of life, career advancement or recognition. If an entrepreneur wouldn’t make a decision about their value base or profit source without thinking it through, why would you?

To maximize your profit or return as a lawyer, you need to figure out the best work for you, and that takes time and involves personal considerations. The smartest thing you can do, in my opinion, is to invest in your brand as a 21st Century Lawyer.

Your Personal Brand

Your brand is about being clear on who you are and who you’re not. Businesses use this marketing tool all the time to create a:

“set of expectations, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service or another” (the definition of a brand according to Seth Godin).

As an individual, you can use branding to:

  1. Decide on the best practice area or career change by assessing the kinds of relationships you seek to develop and reflecting on past successes, and
  2. Influence a (potential) employer about the value you have to offer by curating a set of expectations and stories that fit with their culture.

The beauty about branding on a personal level is that it already exists. Your personal brand is about tapping into things like, how you solve problems, how you interact with clients and co-workers and why you do the things you do in the way you do them.

Your personal brand

Join me next time to learn how you can develop a personal brand and use it to navigate a career change…

The 2018 Career Planner Workbook for the 21st Century Lawyer is here!

Designed by Lawyer Coach Paulette to guide you in taking a look back at 2017 and looking ahead to 2018, it will help you identify, define, and clarify your personal and professional goals.

About the author

Paulette Pommells

I am a certified coach with a creative approach to bring out the best of the 21st Century Lawyer! A 21st Century Lawyer myself, I was faced with a professional dilemma years ago: I had become a “successful” lawyer, and yet something didn't feel right. One day, I hired a career coach and realized how similar coaching is to the legal strategy process. I decided to share this breakthrough with every single lawyer. Today, Creative Choices™ is a sought-after technique by lawyers, law students and law firms when it comes to professional challenges of all kinds. You can learn more about this on my website or by emailing me at

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