According to the American Bar Association, as of 2017 there are currently 1,335,963 attorneys in the United States 1
. With so much competition in the legal industry, how do you stand out from your peers? Whether you work for a large, established firm or are a solo practitioner, developing your personal brand will allow you to strategically distinguish yourself, build your client-base and retain clients. A personal brand is simply the marketing term for how you portray yourself to the world, yet it requires thought and purpose in order to accomplish your goals. Jay Harrington states, “branding requires a concerted, strategic and active effort to describe, position and promote how one’s skills and expertise are relevant and uniquely able to solve a client’s problems. 2
” When developing your personal brand, the experts agree that it is important to be authentic and consistent to yourself 3
. Think about why your existing clients like working with you. What are your personal qualities that make you a great attorney? Are you tenacious? Are you analytical? Are you compassionate? What types of cases do you particularly enjoy? Think about your talents that make you unique and capitalize on them.
After you decide which of your strengths differentiate you from your peers, it’s time to set goals to put those qualities to work for you. Do you want to build client referrals? Do you want to focus on a certain class of cases? Do you want to become the “go-to attorney” for your peers? No matter what your goal is, personal branding will help you accomplish those goals. To help implement your goals and build your personal brand, think about any alliances, referral and social networks you can utilize. How do your current website, bio, and social media pages portray you? Modify your messages and posts to make sure they align with your goals. Do you write or speak publicly? Consider submitting articles to law journals, teaching CLE courses, or guest speaking at networking lunches/dinners on your preferred subject matter to help build your brand.
If one of your goals for your personal brand is to build client loyalty and thereby gain referral business, then a great way to accomplish this is to include a structured settlement consultant as part of your team of settlement experts. As part of your practice, you regularly work with a network of professionals: economists, trust attorneys, doctors, maybe even financial advisors. Structured settlement consultants can provide attorneys with valuable services even before a case settles. Most notably, they can help you prepare for mediation and can help your client start thinking about their life after settlement or trial.
When you are busy preparing for mediation, you can rely on a structured settlement professional in several ways: if you have a life care plan or an economist’s report, the consultant can price it to determine the present value of the total plan or for key services. The consultant can also compare it to the defendant’s life care plan, economist reports. Structured settlement consultants can submit a recent medical records for substandard age rating (reduced life expectancy). This has two results: improved annuity rates for your client and the life insurance companies disclose all other consultants that have submitted medical records, so you will know if the defendant also has their own consultant. (And, if they do have their own consultant, then you will be happy to have a Millennium Consultant on your side.)
The structured settlement consultant can have discussions with your client—not about settlement and final figures—but about what your client’s goals are after settlement. Do they have debt they want to pay off? How much do they have in savings? Do they need a new car or modify their home? Do they have children entering college? Are they worried about their job? Do they need retraining? By having these basic financial conversations, the structured settlement consultant can help your client determine their needs versus their desires and help them plan accordingly, so that when settlement-day arrives your client will feel ready to settle and will have some idea about how to invest the settlement proceeds. Peace of mind for your clients and they will thank you for thinking ahead and helping them to prepare for the next chapter in their lives.
Personal branding is a process to help you achieve long term success. Differentiate yourself by building a network of experts with whom you can rely and for which your clients will appreciate. To find out how your AVITAS Representative can help you stand out in a crowded court room, call today.