The 5 Best Ways To Improve Your Image At The Firm

By March 22, 2016

By Y. Peter Lang
Law360, Los Angeles (March 21, 2016, 2:08 PM ET) — In a BigLaw culture in which doing great work and hitting your billables is par for the course, it’s easy for even excellent attorneys to get lost in the crowd. Boosting your image from reliable worker bee to law firm standout is essential to advancing your career, experts say.
The work comes first — there’s no way to get ahead at a firm without first delivering great results to senior partners and clients. But lawyers who keep their noses to the grindstone and never look up risk languishing with all the work and few of the accolades.
There are essentially two routes to burnishing your image at the firm: developing strong relationships with colleagues and making it rain, experts say. Here, they share five tips for focusing on those two areas to improve your image among firm colleagues.
Become a Leader
Find opportunities to lead within the firm, even if that means taking on an undesirable task and turning it into a leadership role, Reed advises. Volunteering to serve on an internal committee, testing new software or devices, or stepping up to investigate a new practice area opportunity are all things that will be noticed by both your peers and firm decision makers.
“There is always grunt work to be done in the law firm. Never let a good opportunity to get your hands dirty go to waste,” Reed said. “It’s something that can generate positive attention and let you be the team player that we’re talking about.”
If the firm asks for volunteers for a job fair at a nearby law school, do it. More says he was genuinely interested in reaching out and readily volunteered to recruit law school students at his alma mater, Columbia University. Years down the road, “I realized it had the added benefit of raising my profile,” he said.
“Doing things for the collective good where you may not necessarily receive 100 percent of the credit, I think helps,” More added.
Stepping into leadership roles outside the firm is also a great way to boost your image, according to Richard I. Segal, a litigation partner with Miami-based boutique Kluger Kaplan Silverman Katzen & Levine PL.
“For midlevel associates, the number one thing to improve your image in the firm is to obtain positions of authority, in and outside the firm, particularly so that you are recognized as someone in the community who is a leader and proactive in bettering the community by giving your time to those in charitable organizations and philanthropic organizations,” Segal said.
Don’t just attend charity events, Segal advises — take ownership and organize the events.
“It shows that you are responsible and trustworthy to those in your firm, and it shows that you are serious in your craft because you are making yourself well-known in the community,” he said. “People see you as a focal point and someone you want to send business to.”
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