La Vie En Law

How do you maintain that balance between being true to yourself and being a lawyer? Do I have the answer? Not really. But I think it's something that many attorneys struggle with.

The general public and attorneys themselves have so many ideas of what it means to graduate from law school, pass the Bar, then become a "full-fledged attorney." Whatever that means.

Some think that it means you have to go to court every day as a trial attorney. Others think it means to make a lot of money. What if you're in court all the time, but you're not making what most people would consider a lot of money?

I was looking at the ABA Journal website today when I came across two very interesting articles, which I see as somewhat contradictory. The first article is about Deidre Dare, who is an American attorney.

According to the ABA article and what I gleened from her LinkedIn Profile, this past Friday, she was fired from her Senior Associate position at the Moscow office of the law firm Allen & Overy.

I also found a rather sparse Facebook Profile , which has the picture of her that you will find on her website. And her website is what is alleged to have gotten her fired. Attorney Dare, well, she dared to be true to herself and wrote "Expat" - described on the website as "A Weekly Serialized Novel About Living in Moscow."

I haven't read the novel yet, but based on the pictures and what is being written, she appears to have let her sexy side run free. Not that there's anything wrong with that. The ABA article also states that over the weekend, she watched old Seinfeld episodes to help her recover.

"Now that she is no longer with A&O, she started working on the next installment today after a weekend spend watching old Seinfeld television episodes: "Any kind of crisis, Seinfeld helps," she says. "You do laugh even when you think you won't."'

It will be interesting watching this situation unfold and I hope that everything works out well for Attorney Dare. I can see her getting a book deal. Who knows? Maybe even a movie. But this begs the question, how true to yourself can you be about yourself and be an attorney?

The second article stated that the key to new attorneys getting jobs in this economy is to market their personal brand. "Brand You."

Here's a portion of the article that was referenced.

"Unfortunately, a law degree does not even guarantee an opportunity in law, let alone an entree into a different field. For those law graduates who choose to pursue legal careers, many find that navigating the profession is far more complex than the bar itself, and while some learn to tread water and stay afloat, others tank. ...

If I were a law school dean, I would establish a course called "Self-Marketing for Lawyers." Before a single student graduated, this required course would demonstrate how careers excel or stall based upon the personal brand lawyers create or neglect. This is true in nearly every intellectual profession no matter what field you want to maneuver.

Everyone has a personal brand even though most don't seem to know it. Your personal brand is how decision-makers view you. It is the total sum and breadth of your work history, reputation, involvement, initiative and personal values. Brand you is riding on whether people think you are competent, committed, available and willing to offer counsel. Sometimes for free. And often after hours."

Attorney Dare established a personal brand. And how perfect is her name? I guess the lesson is deciding how much of your personal brand you really want to put out there.

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shilpa said…
Great read!
It's much rides on how you present yourself or the personna you create for yourself these days.So much so that people often have a whole new work identity..almost like Multiple Personality disorder.Very sad about Attorney Dare though...
Suldog said…
Interesting. I sometimes face a moral conundrum when I'm asked to read an advertisement for something I truly don't like and would never endorse. I suppose it's the same when you're asked to defend someone or something you don't care for.

(Personally, I long ago accepted the fact that I'm a Vo-Ho - that is, a vocal whore.)
Lisa Johnson said…
shilpa - I think she'll bounce back with a book deal. But if she really wants to keep practicing law, I think it may be difficult for her.

suldog - LOL! Vo-Ho!
Josephine said…
i think it's something everyone must deal with even a little bit - how to engage in personal expression without it interfering with your professional life. the second article is really interesting, too, because i think it's true, but to a fault. in my professional experience, i've needed to stand out enough to show that i am are competent, skilled, and can "think outside the box", but on the whole, i need to be a "team player" and make sure i go along with what everyone else is doing. of course, this is just my experience.
Lisa Johnson said…
josephine - You said it exactly. Having to be a "team player" who "thinks outside the box" is something that it seems many people are trying to do. Kind of like walking a tight rope. I guess it can be done with much skill and practice.

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