branding for lawyers

Branding for Lawyers

If you’ve got your own firm – regardless of its size – you recognize the importance of building a reputation for capably handling complex cases and of getting your firm’s name out there in the process, which is what branding is all about. You want your firm to be known for skillfully handling the toughest cases without breaking your stride, but you’re in the legal business and probably don’t have a lot of extra time or energy to focus on branding. Fortunately, a seasoned legal PR company has the savvy to help you get the job done right.  

What Is Law Firm Branding?

You may be wondering what all this branding is that people can’t seem to stop talking about. The truth of the matter is that it’s a simple concept that packs a lot of PR punch, and you avoid the topic to your own detriment. Too many firms believe that – because the old-school firms that have been around for generations didn’t focus on branding – they shouldn’t have to either.

In reality, however, this is a great example of what branding is all about and why it’s so important. These legendary firms built their brand one case at a time over many, many decades of hard work and word of mouth. The speed of advertising, however, has become lightning-fast, which makes focusing on your branding in the here and now very relevant. 

Brand

A brand is an appeal to consumers’ thoughts, and if you’ve done your homework, your brand – or your firm name – will resonate with potential clients in your area who are looking for the kind of legal work you do. Let’s break this down a bit more by considering the following:

  • Your brand represents the totality of perceptions that consumers equate with your firm.
  • Your brand sets the parameters of your commitment to your clients – much like the handshake of old – which should be reassuring and unique to your firm at the same time.

Your brand calls attention to your firm and speaks for it, connecting directly with potential clients and appealing to what it is they’re looking for in a legal firm. In other words, your brand matters.

The Tricky Part 

As an attorney, you work with facts, evidence, legal precedent, and the elements of specific laws, and this can feel like it’s worlds away from the softer science of branding. Don’t be fooled, however – branding can be broken down into basic working parts that you are more than capable of managing – and with the proper guidance and insight, you’ll be on top of your game in no time. These parts include:

  • The window dressing, including your firm logo, the fonts and color schemes you choose, your website, and your building and offices
  • Your message and trademarks
  • Your online and community presence 

The Window Dressing

When it comes to the physical trappings that represent your firm, you can let your vision guide you – this is how you see your firm. While this is obviously an important part of your brand, it’s hard to go wrong if you put your heart into it and take the time to get it right. 

Your Message

When it comes to your message and your presence, however, things can be a bit more complicated. When asked what your firm’s message is, it’s important to take a deep breath and speak your truth. Remember, this isn’t a trick question. You started your firm – or joined it – for a reason, and this reason is your promise to your clients and potential clients. 

While you may have a hard time using your words in this capacity, a legal PR wordsmith will not. You didn’t start a firm on a whim, and your message should reflect your commitment to protecting your client’s rights. 

Your Online Presence

Your online presence is a bit more complicated. There’s no denying that maintaining a vibrant online presence can help drive your brand home, but making this happen takes effort. This is a space where you can trust your legal PR company to do their thing – and do it well. By sharing your voice and your vision with your PR team, you set the wheels in motion in relation to finding your online branding niche.   

Your Presence in the Community

It’s not enough to be a fantastic legal firm that does excellent work – you need to make your mark in your community. For this one, talking the talk simply isn’t enough; you’re going to have to also walk the walk. At this juncture, it’s important to take a moment and consider the opportunity you’ve been handed. Your firm has passions, and choosing one to focus on and contribute to is a great way to give back – and garner attention for your good deeds in the process. As long as it’s meaningful to you, you’re on the right track. 

Law Firm Branding during a Crisis

In the past, you might have thought – branding during a crisis, what crisis? The fact is that we all went through a bona fide crisis – the pandemic – together, and it was hard on everyone. In the midst of a crisis, it’s all too easy to overreact, speak in haste, project the wrong image, clumsily attempt to reel it back in, and start the whole process over again. That’s right – we see you. 

The most important point to keep in mind is that there is no foolproof playbook when it comes to a crisis. If you find yourself in the midst of a PR crisis – or in what you think could turn into a PR crisis – the most important thing you can do is hit pause. 

Whatever the crisis is – and as we’ve all learned, they can be impossible to predict – the goal is reaching out and connecting with your client base as swiftly as possible but only after putting some thought into it. At the end of the day, you want your clients and potential clients to know that you recognize the crisis at hand and that you’re right there with them. Toward this end, it’s important to keep all the following in mind:

  • Authenticity – No matter how eloquent your message is, if it’s not genuine, it’s not helping. This is true across the board. We all know schlock when we hear it. 
  • Compassion – A crisis is no time to adopt an every-man-for-himself attitude. In the end, we are all in this together, and the better your message reflects this truth, the better off you are. 
  • Kindness – Kindness really does begin at home. When you can’t find it in your heart to forgive your firm’s transgressions in the face of a crisis – whatever they may be – you send the distinct message that judgment is your thing and that you have a hard time letting bygones be bygones, which is not the look you’re going for. 

Yes, you’re selling your brand and your message, but there’s more to it than that. You stand behind your mission, and making this abundantly clear in the face of a crisis is key. 

What Makes a Strong Law Firm Brand?

Questions like what makes a strong law firm brand tend to strike fear in the hearts of attorneys who are focused on implementing their keen legal insight in pursuit of favorable case resolutions. In fact, your commitment to your craft is laudable, and it is the stuff of strong brands everywhere. In other words, your brand is the embodiment of the passion that drives your commitment to your clients and the law, and bridging the gap between the two doesn’t require rocket science – but if that’s your thing, that’s OK, too (we get you, IP firms). 

While you may not be in the practice of putting the heart of your firm into words and other outward manifestations, that’s your creative legal PR company’s bread and butter, and they are more than well-prepared to translate your authentic intentions into compelling copy. 

Your brand is very real, but sharing it with the world at large requires a bit of finesse, and that’s where PR creatives come in. When it comes to projecting the strength of your brand, keep the following in mind:

  • Your confidence in your firm’s offerings
  • The clarity of your branding vision 
  • The consistency of your message

In other words, building a strong brand is not a matter of luck and isn’t a party trick. You have something special to offer, and the better you are at conveying this, the better prepared you are to bolster your brand. 

How to Create Your Law Firm’s Brand?

As attorneys, you’re committed to serving your client’s legal needs and pursuing the most advantageous outcomes possible within the exacting parameters of the law. As such, there’s a lot on your plate, and there may not be much room for a heap of branding. Now is the time to give some thought to those firms that have been building their brand for generations – even though they may not have put it in those terms. 

Building a modern brand comes down to focusing on specific building blocks – all of which make sense in terms of growing your business, but many of which you may not have given much thought to in your push forward. Consider all the following:

  • Know who you are 
  • Share your intentions
  • Know your audience
  • Hone your message
  • Put yourself out there – consistently

If this strikes you as solid advice for putting your best foot forward on a dating app, you’re on to something. This is a universal message for anyone who is looking to connect – regardless of the platform. You’re a law firm that is more than ready to connect with potential clients, and in order to do so, you need to go boldly forward. It can take a bit of courage, but with legal PR savvy on your side, you’ll never look back.

Branding with Intrapreneurship

You knew it was coming – it’s time to consider intrapreneurship. As an associate attorney, you’re a steward of justice, which is a worthy calling. You are also, however, a businessperson who is finding your way. And dovetailing these two primary purposes is the name of the personal branding game. Ultimately, you are so much more than your book of business, the hours you bill, and the fees you generate – even if it doesn’t seem that way. 

In order to grow at your firm, you need to find your stride and hit your marks, which includes carving out your niche and feeling comfortable within it. While it’s important to stand out for your efforts, it’s also important to be a team player and to demonstrate this fact to your colleagues. Being ambitious is all well and good, but if your focus is solely on your own advancement, you’re not the team’s most valuable player.

Without relationships, we’ve got nothing, and intrapreneurship is all about intentionally honing your connections. For example, don’t ignore the associate or intern who will be moving on soon – in addition to having something valuable to share today, they could turn into a trusted ally down the road. And let’s face it – allies are the gold standard of the legal business. In your intrapreneurial efforts, counting others out is shortsighted at best. 

When it comes to branding with intrapreneurship, keep all of the following in mind:

  • Get involved – join those associate committees 
  • Be on the prowl for opportunities – rather than waiting for them to find you 
  • Make your pro bono efforts shine
  • Hone your writing skills and chip in when it comes to content – there’s no better way to distinguish your unique capabilities
  • Don’t be afraid to share your office and project management innovations 
  • Take advantage of the training and educational opportunities your firm offers
  • Start a whole scene by tapping into what others have to offer – it’s not always the star players who have the most to teach us
  • Don’t ignore the rainmakers – they help light the way

As an associate, you have a brand within your firm. Let it shine.

Building Your Brand Concept Starts Here – and a Legal PR Firm Can Help 

Your brand concept is the core from which your branding flows, and even if you can’t put it into words at the moment, it’s already been formed. The legal PR pros at Newsroom PR are here to help you put your brand concept into practice, which is the impetus behind solid branding that speaks to who you are as a firm, resonates with the people, and generates loyalty over time. Learn more by contacting us online or calling us at 213-422-2738 today.