In Dan Schwabel: Brand The Lawyer, Not The Firm, Larry Bodine adopts Dan Schwabel's thesis:
success in law practice comes to lawyers who turn themselves into personal brands. It's well known that clients hire lawyers, not law firms. But law firms make the mistake of branding the firm as an entity, and not the individuals who bring them new business.
And while I agree with Larry, via Dan, that many law firms make the mistake of failing to develop personal brands, in my experience, it isis also a mistake to fail to develop a "firm brand" too. Here's why:
- Unless you're a solo, your clients will probably have to work with other people at your law firm.
- Some day, you might want to fade into the sunset. Do you want your brand to do the same?
If you're the only face of your firm, will people recognize and trust the other people on your team?
Now don't get me wrong. From what I have seen, there is no shortage of lawyers branding their firms as entities. And so, I would completely agree that, generally speaking, there needs be a focus shift toward personal branding in the legal profession. Especially online. However, I don't think that means that lawyers should abandon firm branding altogether.
In fact, we have several clients that enjoy a great deal of search traffic on their entity brands. While these entity brands may have taken a much longer time to build, I believe their value will far outlast any of the individual lawyers at the firm.
Need more convincing, Geoff Livingston provides his rebuttal to six arguments for personal branding.
While I certainly wouldn't advocate lawyers not to develop personal brands, Geoff's rebuttal does highlight several of the issues that can be applied to failing to develop an entity brand.
Like most other aspects to marketing any business, the true answer is that the decision of whether to develop a personal brand, an entity brand, or both, is really unique to the business. There are many advantages and disadvantages that may or may not apply to your particular situation. That is why the people that are assisting you with developing your brand, really need to know your practice.
Although this post takes a somewhat contrary tone, the truth is that there aren't enough lawyers focusing on personal branding, especially online. However, if you are able to develop both a personal, as well as, an entity brand, I suggest that you can have the best of both worlds.
(Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mgifford/3197948316/)