Running Legal Like A Business - Ch. 20 and 21 - Branding

The final two chapters of Running Legal Like A Business (PLI Press, 2021) by Connie Brenton and Susan R.Lambreth address personal branding (author Deborah Farone) and burnishing your departmental reputation (author Lucinda Fuldner) with award submissions.

In her opening, Farone notes that personal brand and department reputation influence how responsive your colleagues are with you.  Their decision on how to respond is based on prior experience and what they have heard or seen of your work.  Reputational components she reviews include prior experience, internet presence, a collaborative work style, empathy and ability to think from your client's perspective.  

She situates the importance in personal brand with law firm partners' need to generate a book of business, as well as the ability to solicit partnership and get projects done efficiently within law departments. 

Considering one's personal brand is also a means of career management. Questions include:"Am I getting the type of work I want? What am I doing to leave the right impression?" 

To jump start your personal brand Farone advises that you: (1)  take an active interest in your fellow service departments; (2) do great work; (3) lean in on kindness; (4)  consider circles of influence; (5) where aligned with company policy, develop your external-facing presence; and (6) write-down a one page mini-marketing plan with tactical SMART goals.  Along the way she she poses a number of questions for the reader's consideration.  

In the following chapter, author Lucinda Fuldner, addresses the question of department reputation.  She convincingly asserts that awards are about celebrating hard work and sharing knowledge, both success and failure, to the benefit of the larger ecosystem.

She provides a two-step system for submitting winning awards submissions  Part 1 involves tracking submission opportunity deadlines, keeping evergreen content on hand and not being deterred from submission. Part 2 is to craft a compelling submission offering a vivid (and accurate) story bolstered by data that illustrates a meaningful impact with a detailed checklist. The information aligns with my experience managing competitive grant submissions for almost 10 years.  And though I have never once made an award submission, I'm now thinking on it.

 Having over the previous 19 chapters reviewed strategic planning, reporting and metrics, financial and technology management, process optimization, contracts, human capital and diversity, the book drawing to a close with a note on how the successful deployment of knowledge impacts both the legal ops professional and their legal department is a suitable conclusion.