Updated: Jan 8, 2021
Law is widely regarded as a highly logical, emotionally detached industry. In some ways, this is true and in some ways it absolutely isn’t. An attorney needs to be facts-oriented and thorough when approaching her craft, critical and shrewd when identifying key issues and using them to her clients’ benefits. However, to reduce the practice of law down to statutes, rigid rules, and the removal of all emotion is to miss a big part of this industry: personal connection.
Personal connection, fortunately, is a place where female lawyers often shine. Research shows that women “use communication as a tool to enhance social connections and create relationships,” whereas men often focus more on outcomes and asserting dominance. In a legal environment where trust is the key to making and keeping clients, the value of using this feminine trait to define and shape narratives cannot be overstated.
The Feminine Side of Law
Female lawyers have long struggled to be taken seriously. The American Bar Association indicates that many female lawyers do not feel like they fit in, often noting that they work twice as hard to earn the same level of recognition. For women of color, this “respect gap” is even worse, with many being mistaken for court personnel or administrative staff. Because of these biases, it should come as no surprise that women feel pressure to temper any show of femininity while in the legal industry.
Now is the time to change this trend. Your brand story is the tool to change it.
There is no shame in being empathetic, emotionally engaged, and personable. In fact, the growing generation of Millennials look for lawyers who reflect their own need for transparency, honesty, and personal conviction. Embracing these traits will become an asset for your law firm.
Brand Storytelling for Lawyers: A Personal Pitch
Effective marketing content engages viewers, connects with them, and spurs within them a need to find out more. Storytelling, when done with your target audience in mind, accomplishes all of these goals. When done properly, a story shows why you do what you do at your firm, rather than just telling people about the services you offer.
While other marketing avenues might be more direct—highlighting benefits of a certain law firm or providing incentives as a means to catch a potential client’s eye— storytelling relies on the building of a personal connection with the attorney. This kind of marketing is long-lasting, and paves the way for a relationship of trust long before a potential client steps foot in your office.
Your brand story is essentially your opportunity to sell your law firm by selling yourself—in the most authentic way possible. Do not be afraid to embrace the elements that set you apart, including your ability to listen, your compassion, and those other “feminine” qualities that make your client-attorney relationships so unique.
What People Want from Your Brand Story
Essentially, creating a brand story is really about selling your law firm (and by extension, yourself) in the most authentic way possible. Here are a few key things to remember when you are making the “personal pitch” that is brand storytelling.
People want to see passion. Attorneys are often afraid of exposing their personal lives to their clients, and for good reason. But, if you have a personal passion or reason for going into the practice of law, that is the kind of right-brained marketing that will linger in the mind of a potential client.
People want to see honesty. A little honesty goes a long way in marketing, but it really does carry a client-attorney relationship. When building your brand story, be honest about what you do, what you do not do, your successes, and failures.
People want to see themselves. A testimonial from a happy client with an evocative story is phenomenal marketing fodder. Whether it is in written, audio, or video format, your clients will connect best with people who represent them, and will give you a chance to showcase your ideal clients and outcomes.
People want to see you. This does not have to be literal, but it often is. Having a face or voice to go with a name is more than half of the battle when developing a relationship of trust with a potential client, especially during this time when many people are still interacting with lawyers via the internet.
Brand Storytelling as a Directive Model for Your Law Practice
Once you have developed your “pitch,” it can become a formative concept that shapes your practice development, community interaction, and growth goals. Remember, your unique perspective as a woman in law is valuable, and you can use it as a means of changing the legal profession to whatever extent you desire. Consider these driving questions:
● What other aspects of your brand can you explore through storytelling?
● Can you create an image of how you expect your brand to strengthen the community?
● How can your story affect how law is practiced in your specialty?
● What benefits can mentees glean from your story?
Whatever goals you may have for your law firm, your unique story can be a tool for change both professionally and personally as you share it authentically.
Be Brave, Have an Impact
As storytelling gains traction as a marketing method, women lawyers can leverage their natural strengths and communication styles to better connect with potential clients. The strengths women possess lend themselves to connecting with clients struggling with legal issues. When clients are in new territory—being sued, going through a divorce, facing criminal charges, whatever the case may be—a little bit of empathy and active listening can go a long way.
Connection has the power to change how women lawyers navigate the legal industry now and in the future. As female communication styles and techniques gain credibility in legal spaces, women lawyers may have the chance to shine by stepping into their own power, rather than trying to emulate how men act in legal environments.
Remember: your story is powerful.
Give yourself permission to share it authentically. When you do, you will find that your honesty, passion, and empathy is the powerful tool for change that the legal industry—and your clients—are craving.
Meranda M. Vieyra is the owner of Denver Legal Marketing LLC. She is one of the most visible legal professionals in Colorado law with over 20 years of service in the Denver legal community. Her award-winning marketing firm has earned a strong reputation as the go-to for impactful, cost-effective legal marketing strategies. She has helped her clients secure coverage by well-known publications and has obtained local, national, and international awards on their behalf. Meranda enjoys working with solo practitioners and small law firms helping them attract recognition, promotion, and visibility to their practices. She also advises medium-sized and national law firms on business development and marketing strategy. Meranda is a lecturer and author on issues related to marketing including how lawyers can use LinkedIn effectively, how to develop a personal brand, and the promotion of legal services through community service. In 2018, she was honored to be named to the 40 Under 40 list by the Denver Business Journal and to be given the 10 Under 10 Award by the Metropolitan State University of Denver Alumni Association (top 10 alum of the decade). In 2019, Meranda was named in the Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Business by the Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce and in the Top 100 young professionals in Colorado through the Gen XYZ Awards published by ColoradoBiz Magazine.
For more information, go to www.DenverLegalMarketing.com