Proctor : October 2018
27 PROCTOR | October 2018 Early career lawyers Tip 3: Start saying ‘yes’ and venture outside your comfort zone Unexpected opportunities do not just simply fall into our laps; you have to go out and find them. Although you probably feel content within your comfort zone, venturing outside of it can open you up to a variety of opportunities. To help build your personal brand, say ‘yes’ to any public-speaking opportunities that may arise, whether it be at your old university, within your firm, at a business event or seminar. Again, like networking, the idea might be daunting at first, but the more public speaking you do the less scary it will be, and it is a great way to get your personal brand out there. Say ‘yes’ to joining a committee or volunteering at your local community legal centre; these centres are always in need of help. Giving back to the community is not only fulfilling, but a great way to show people what you are interested in and passionate about. All of this assists in developing your personal brand. We often find it hard to break away from our routines or try something new because we fear that we will not enjoy it or will fail. However, the more you say ‘yes’, the more you will face those fears and insecurities head-on. Tip 4: Build your online presence Not only does writing blogs or articles increase traffic to your firm’s website, it is a great way to share your knowledge and skills to the world at large and will help identify you and your firm as leaders in the profession. It also helps build trust; the more well-versed you are in your field, the more likely people will trust you to provide them with advice. There are so many great platforms to share blogs, articles and videos such as personal websites, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. Each platform has its own purpose and the type of content you publishshould depend on the audience. For example, I use LinkedIn to post blogs or articles that I have written that may be of particular interest, not necessarily to private clients, but to other professionals such as accountants and financial planners. In my area of law, especially estate planning, accountants and financial planners are a main source of referrals. I have recently created a professional Instagram account called the @thenextgenlawyer and while I don’t have hundreds of followers, I have noticed fairly quickly the impact Instagram has had in boosting my personal brand. I use Instagram to post short reminders or tips on, for example, ‘When to review your will’ and ‘How to choose the right guardian for your children’, usually with a link back to my blog in my bio for further content and information. Instagram is also a great way to show the world a glimpse of your personal life (whilst remaining professional), which in turn makes you more relatable and allows people to connect with you on a different level. Lastly, I post all of my blogs, articles, and videos on my personal website – biancastafford.com . My website is a central point where all of my blogs, articles and videos are consolidated. I like to think of my website as a starting point for clients to obtain general information about legal processes they may not be familiar with, for example, ‘What is probate?’, ‘Am I entitled to see the will?’, ‘What happens to my super when I die?’. Please bear in mind that, if you choose to start a personal blog or Instagram page, you must commit to it in order to reap the rewards. This does not happen immediately and it is sometimes hard, especially when you are busy. It is important, however, to keep the content rolling so that your brand continues to grow and so do the benefits. If there are times when you are quiet in the office, make the most of it and write additional content to be posted at a later date. Most importantly, write about what you are passionate about; it is always more enjoyable and your passion, skills and experience will show through your writing. Conclusion As lawyers, we are often so consumed by deadlines, professional development, budgets and billables, that we sometimes fail to recognise and consider how the work and clients are actually coming through the doors. Due to the impact technology is said to have on our practice, personal branding is now more important than ever. However, building your personal brand does not happen overnight, it takes time, dedication and persistence. As an early career lawyer, there is no better time than the present to leverage your qualities to achieve your goals. by Bianca Stafford This article appears courtesy of the Queensland Law Society Early Career Lawyers Committee Proctor working group, chaired by Frances Stewart (Frances. Stewart@hyneslegal.com.au) and Adam Moschella (Adam.Moschella@justice.qld.gov.au). Bianca Stafford is an associate at Miller Harris Lawyers.