Karen Shapiro is a lawyer turned “life coach.” From what I understand, a “life coach” is essentially a therapist who helps you see happiness attainment like a basket that needs to be dunked on. Being called coach may or may not allow them to slap you on the ass when you get a promotion or settle into a healthy long-term relationship.

Shapiro, a Boston University School of Law grad, recently penned a column for the Legal Intelligencer on the game plan for success in the legal playing field. Apparently, you all need to be carefully crafting your personal brands.

If your brand is “cog in the machine,” you have some work to do…

Karen Shapiro and her “pearls and sweater set” brand.

Shapiro writes:

In our culture, when we think of brands, we think of products and their slogans — like Wheaties (“The Breakfast of Champions”) or Bounty (“The Quicker Picker-Upper”) or Visa (“It’s Everywhere You Want to Be”). The idea behind these slogans is that they highlight for the outside world the very best aspects of the product represented, so people come to remember and appreciate these products for their specific strengths.

Some possibilities:

  • Junior associate, doc reviewer of champions?
  • Senior associate, the quicker case matter picker-upper?
  • Partner, I’m everywhere you want to bill?
  • Similarly, when you work on branding yourself, you help other people know better what you do well and why they should appreciate you.

    Shapiro warns that if you don’t brand yourself, someone else will. She outlines three easy steps for branding yourself.

  • Ask yourself what makes you unique… Make a list of the ways you contribute something special at work for your superiors, your colleagues, your clients and your prospective clients… Think of interesting combinations of traits you embody or aspire to embody, such as “quiet confidence,” “sophisticated yet fun” or “gentle giant.”
  • If your main trait is “less miserable than I seem,” you may have some work to do.

  • Let your interests and preferences be your guide…What’s a favorite song, one you could listen to again and again on your iPod? What’s your favorite animal? Movie? Fictional character? You can list these and note what characteristics you love about your selections.
  • Shapiro recommends that you come up with a tagline for yourself. If you’re a Facebook user, there’s a nice place for this right under your profile photo. Mine is, “Have caffeine, will travel.” That seemed better than, “Will blog for pittance.”

  • Consider your “packaging”… Ask yourself what style you would like to project. Consider the variables contributing to your unique style: your look, communication style, tone of voice and attitude.
  • A hot poker sounds easier and less painful.

    ATL readers, what’s your brand?

    Stand Out as a Lawyer Through Personal Branding [Legal Intelligencer]


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