It is a common occurrence to witness a few Senior Advocates being sought after for their expertise and services, even when there are many with a similar qualification. It is these handful of them who are often invited to prestigious events, quoted in articles, and receive an influx of client requests. It leads us to a question: What sets them apart and how?
This is where a few tips can come into play, where a few have already leveraged social media for themselves. In today’s time and competition within the Legal Industry, it has also become imperative for Senior Advocates to consider practice development. This is a valuable tool where you can influence people’s perception of you, when you are not around.
As a Senior Advocate, with years of practice comes a lot of responsibilities. One of the most underrated responsibilities is to manage their reputation – offline & digitally! One spends many years practicing in the Bar to become a Senior Advocate. While this is an achievement of its own, nothing should go unnoticed.
Today, your reputation speaks for you. It tells your clients, colleagues and professional circle about your skills, expertise, personality, and experience. Most importantly, it throws a light on your story! A story that resonates with a few, a story that inspires a few.
One must carefully curate digital strategies in achieving goals by leveraging their reputation and expertise. Here is what you can do for your practice’s development -
Contemplate your story. You could be a Senior Advocate exclusively working on criminal matters, or civil. Your expertise could be in M&A, your interests in something very non-law. Think through how you wish to be seen in front of people. Do you wish to highlight extensive knowledge about your subject, which you don’t express very often, or would you want to direct it towards your client commitment and passion that clients can vouch for? Your experience, pedigree, your social standing, voluntary work – anything could speak for you but what is it that you want? Once this is chalked out, your position becomes clearer.
This is then followed by highlighting important things about yourself on your social media profiles (LinkedIn primarily). Tweak the headline by adding your designation, your interests, practice. Instead of just writing words, think of a narrative where you are also mentioning how you help your clients. Turn the creator mode on. Use hashtags of the things that interest you. A robust LinkedIn profile can take you and your practice a long way!
We are currently living in a very accessible era. Clients can get information on a lawyer by a single online search. Their choice to collaborate/work with you depends on what they see on the internet about you. Even an invisible user can perceive you based on the content you share. So, is just positioning yourself on your profile enough?
Networking and engaging with the network are as important as positioning yourself. They go together as networking would be pointless if people do not know you, and vice versa. Being accessible to people who might need your help professionally. Be humble, reach out to people whose posts and experiences you resonate with and let them know. A single conversation can make a difference. Do not shy away from adding somebody to your network. Remember, your network is your net worth!
The human instinct these days is that one always “googles” somebody they are meeting for the first time, in a professional set-up. For a Senior Advocate, it becomes even more important to create a strong impression because of the position they are in. These include media coverage, information about you from a Wikipedia Page that talks about you or your own website/blog, reported cases. Maintaining and keeping track of the content that speaks about you would not only build trust in the clients’ eyes but also take your online reputation several notches up.
Content is the king, and context is the queen. If one can crack the content bit by understanding what could work out for the audience, what you wish to write for and how - you are good to go. Content planning plays a significant role in developing your practice.
While textual content is one form to leverage, video-type content is also picking up where the video adds a visual appeal to the content, thereby elevating your practice, quicker than what plain textual content would do. As a Senior Advocate, you can utilize the effectiveness of video-based content to become a thought leader. Content can also be disseminated by writing blogs, doing podcasts, and becoming pro-active on social media. Doing this would give the Senior Advocate an edge in nurturing many relationships with existing and prospective clients, as well as developing their practice.
Media support in today’s competition can spruce up your credibility and help you in establishing yourself as a thought leader, under your preferred practice area. As a Senior Advocate, the onus is on you to entrench thought-provoking discussions, provide your quotes in industry-related news, and contribute to opinion articles. Indulging in each of these exercises shall reap you the much-needed visibility, and the solid presence for you.
Speaking in public is an empowering and rewarding exercise for a Senior Advocate, as they can influence through their oratory skills. Participating in panel discussions, attending conferences and events as a speaker is an excellent means to boost your offline profile, personality development and very simply brings you forward as a thought leader.
International legal directories exist to provide individuals and organizations with a reliable and comprehensive resource for identifying and selecting legal service providers from around the world. Listing your practice on these directories can help you get noticed, not just in India but also globally. This is a great exercise to increase the visibility of your practice.
By being included in a reputable ranking by completing your submissions, you can gain more visibility, credibility, and recognition in the legal industry.
Indulging in developing your practice is important. However, as a Senior Advocate, it gets difficult to juggle and manage its nuances alongside their law practice. To combat the challenge, invest in a PR (Public Relations) agency that can capture your needs and help you with developing your practice.
Aman Abbas is the CEO of Commwiser Consultants LLP. He is a former Director, Client and Markets Department, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, and Former Head of Communications at KPMG. He specializes in Legal and Professional Services Marketing.