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Great advice from The Lawyer Whisperer

June 23, 2016
Question

I just left my in house job and started a solo practice while looking for another in house position. Should I create a brochure to highlight my background for potential clients and employers?

answer
Julie Q. Brush

If you plan to hang out your own shingle and practice law as a solo between gigs, creating a marketing brochure to highlight your specific expertise, while not a must…can be helpful – particularly if you plan to proactively market your legal services to potential clients. Brochures and law firm marketing materials are typically provided to potential clients when lawyers/law firms are pitching for business. These detailed narratives can be useful to differentiate oneself from the rest of the pack, which can also prove valuable if/when colleagues or potential clients request such information. In addition, the creation process will provide you with the opportunity to become more self aware about your skills and value – and will allow you to hone your message come job interview time. So there is an ancillary benefit to the exercise.

If you choose to pursue this direction, I recommend the format be in a nicely presented soft copy – as opposed to a slick hard copy glossy. While the latter tends to be used more frequently among medium to large sized firms (they have soft copies too though), you’ll get more bang for your buck with a soft version you can email to contacts, friends, colleagues and clients. There are many free or inexpensive programs available for small business owners to create high quality P.R. so I recommend trying your hand at it first to keep costs down.

The type of “brochure” you are describing is better suited for law firm client development than it is for employment applications and candidate differentiation. So I would not use such materials as part of your in house job search. Not only is it highly uncommon, but also employers who receive such materials as part of a job application will react negatively – as it will be viewed as overkill and lacking good judgment. Instead, use your resume and other social media resources to create your professional narrative and detail your experience. A powerful resume, deal/practice sheet and LinkedIn profile is all you need to create a strong impression in today’s employment market.

As you navigate your next career transition, your days will be busy as you manage a job search and a solo practice simultaneously. So how you choose to spend your time will be critical. As outside counsel, the creation of marketing materials/brochures can be useful, but given your temporary status in this role it isn’t required for success or sustainability. So if you choose to forgo this option, it will have little to no impact on your career. As an active job seeker, such supplemental promotion is unnecessary and over the top – and will ultimately hurt your candidacy. So stay away from such tactics. Instead, leverage the widely accepted professional tools in today’s legal market to showcase all that is great about You – and focus your time and energy on getting these platforms right. Once you do, you’ll have everything you need to make the impression you desire.

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Comments

Tina Wilcox, Assistant General Counsel , Viad Corp

Check the ethical rules for your jurisdiction to determine the rules for attorney advertising. Also, check to see if you're required to have a succession plan (unless you plan on keeping your practice open after finding other employment).

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