Self-promotion: It doesn't have to be all or nothing

Elizabeth Jolliffe
Your Benchmark Coach

For the vast majority of lawyers, self-promotion ranks right up there with answering interrogatories, or that ilk, as the bane of our lawyerly existence.

Say what? What about all of those SuperLawyers, Facebook and LinkedIn posts, humblebrags and windbags? What about people who walk down the hall pounding their chests and blowing a horn about their successes? Isn't all that self-promotion? And if so, doesn't that mean there are plenty of lawyers who love self-promotion? Sure. But not you, and not thousands of good lawyers like you.

And you swear that you do not want to be like one of "those" types. You won't admit it publicly but you still believe being a good lawyer ought to be enough for more business, better assignments or a new or first job.

Wake up and put your hands back on the wheel of your career! We may have driverless cars sooner than we thought, but not soon enough to navigate the road you are currently on.

The underlying idea is to become slightly famous to your target market - no matter whether you are looking to build your book of business, get a promotion or find a new job. For more on this concept, see "Get Slightly Famous, Become a Celebrity in Your Field and Attract More Business," by Steven Van Yoder. In my opinion, becoming a little bit famous includes appropriate self-promotion.

So what is appropriate self-promotion? Look at a speedometer. See 0 mph as absolutely no self-promotion and 120 mph as, in your opinion, the most inappropriate self-promoting lawyer.

Consider where you are on the self-promotion speedometer and the difference between there and your fear of being that shameless self-promoter. Where would you like to be between 0 and 120 mph? What self-promotion would you be doing at that speed? What do you need to do to get there? To cruise once you are there?

Take a deep breath and take control. Put your hands on the wheel of your career and get going.


Elizabeth Jolliffe is a certified career management and business development coach for lawyers.

Published: Thu, Apr 30, 2015