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Personal Branding - Relevancy of the equation for in-house counsels? - Arunima Jha

Branding = Reputation.

First and foremost in-house counsels' role is very similar to lawyers who are into private practice. In my experience, in-house lawyers wrap themselves so much with their employer's identity that they get lost. That's a major mistake. It's important to establish your identity. Your clients must trust you before you address the matters proactively.

My analysis of myself has helped me to develop pillars for thought leadership that I want to do in my career. I am somebody who believes that collaboration is imperative if you want to grow in your career. I firmly believe that technology innovation is important. That's the kind of business approach that I take and I feel that it helps me set the tone with my Clients about what to expect from me. You need to find what's sustainable for you, for example when I handle any matter, I try to understand what's my clients' broader needs. A part of my practice is to establish the expectation amongst my Clients and be able to understand what success means to my Client. Sometimes, it may mean not taking the matter to trial & sometimes there are other things at play. That's my brand.

The inter-connectedness of business relationships is something that should not be ignored. You want your Client to believe your services and that you're a good fit for their needs. For a lawyer who is also a good salesman, I think its' a rare match.

Recently, my usage of LinkedIn has become more personal than business. As a lawyer, I think it's quite common to tend to believe that social media is not a good thing and that somehow lawyers are supposed to have a different persona, something that should not be personal. However, in my experience, the use of social media helps to build relationships, also, because people do business with people whose values are aligned with theirs'. Social media gives you the ability to build strong business relationships and start networking.

Now in the last few weeks, I have come across many people on LinkedIn ranging from people who have lost jobs, people who are building businesses, people who had to lay off employees, and the experience is so varied that it has helped me to get access to the genuine opinion of other people and that's invaluable for me.

One of the problems that we have with the legal profession is the assumption of putting on strong armour to appear reliable. Now that's not something that, is not true. As lawyers, we can have good days and we can also have bad days, but that doesn't mean that you're any less of a professional. You can be authentic. Sometimes it's difficult to reveal yourself (maybe not for everybody) but your vulnerability can help someone else overcome their weakness.

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