A year ago I was introduced to a young, smart, corporate lawyer in a well-known national law firm. When I met him, I could not help but notice his shoes were not shined and actually had scuff marks. His shoes looked like the one on the left in the photo.

His un-shined shoes made an impression on me that will take a long time to go away. It is the first thing I think about when his name comes to my mind. I wonder if potential clients and referral sources also notice his shoes. If so, he will be forever “branded” as a business lawyer who does not dress like one.

I don’t like the word “brand” to describe lawyers. Yet, we each have a brand. It is what our clients, referral sources, contacts, adversaries and colleagues in our office say about us. What do those folks say about you?

Recently I read the Forbes article by Lisa QuastBuild A Personal Brand, Not Just A Career. I was fascinated by the discussion of Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s new CEO.

As Google’s 20th employee and first woman engineer, she is a ‘brand.’ Marissa Mayer is the woman that made Google successful.

That is definitely a brand. I urge you to read the entire article and discuss some of the ideas with your colleagues.

When I was building my law practice I wanted my potential clients to think I was:

  1. The preeminent transportation construction lawyer in the US
  2. Innovative
  3. Construction business savvy
  4. Trusted advisor
  5. Likeable
  6. Caring
  7. Focused on helping contractors

I never called that a “brand” but it was. For 25 years I wrote a column for Roads and Bridges magazine titled “Law: The Contractor’s Side.”  The title of the column itself “branded” me as a contractor’s lawyer.

What do you want your clients to think about you? What is the best way to show them your brand?