Karen Shapiro over at The Legal Intelligencer has just written an article on how to make yourself into an even bigger, more insufferable tool, Stand Out as a Lawyer Through Personal Branding. Now, I could understand if the article was aimed at attorneys working in solo practice or boutiques, where the attorney and the firm aren’t really distinguishable and branding yourself is part of firm marketing. But, nope, this article is about branding yourself within the firm to build your reputation with your coworkers.
Once the freshness of starting a new legal job dissipates, some lawyers can experience a sense of malaise that may come in part from feeling like their uniqueness just doesn’t matter. There may be a sense of serving as a mere “cog in the wheel” of legal machinery. While the legal work produced may at times seem rote or somewhat factory-driven, the truth of the matter is lawyers are not simply interchangeable, fungible beings. You are each unique individuals who have something distinct to offer.
Yeah, you’re all special, unique snowflakes. The doc review you do is distinct and no one else quite does it like you. What is this shit?
Especially in today’s economy, you will benefit from understanding what makes you distinct and special. Make a list of the ways you contribute something special at work for your superiors, your colleagues, your clients and your prospective clients. Perhaps its your energy, your focus, your creativity or your intellect. In many cases, it’s the blend or unique mix of attributes or endearing quirks that makes a person remarkable in their workplace. Think of interesting combinations of traits you embody or aspire to embody, such as “quiet confidence,” “sophisticated yet fun” or “gentle giant.”
I don’t know who would brand themselves as a gentle giant in the law firm context, but “quiet confidence” or “sophisticated yet fun” basically cover the rest of law firm associates. “Personality-Deficient Drone” and “Newly Personality-Deficient Drone,” respectively. So much for the “you are each unique individuals” thing.
The only associates who don’t fit either the “quiet confidence” or “sophisticated yet fun” molds are the drunk slackers, and not only should they not brand themselves as such, they’re just not going to brand themselves at all within their law firm because they realize it’s such douchy, toolish behavior, and completely useless.
But, just to play along, I decided to do a little work on my brand:
He doesn’t have a drinking problem,
He has a life problem.
Yeah…maybe not. I’ll just stick to the classics.