Getting Your Name Out There - ABA YLD 101 Practice Series

By Rebecca Niburg

I have been chuckling at the prospect of writing this article all week.  For me, the irony is clear: writing articles just like this one is a great way to get your name out there.  This article is not going to belabor the obvious points regarding the benefit of getting your name out there.  What this article will relate are some good ways of accomplishing your goal of making sure you have the ability to cultivate a client base and secure referrals from other attorneys.  The key to getting your name out there is to get involved.

Perhaps counter intuitively, an attorney must understand that “getting your name out there” is not necessarily limited to interacting with the public at large.  An important first step for new attorneys is to get involved with bar associations.  Many localities have bar associations that hold regular meetings; getting to these dinners, lunches, and other social gatherings allows you to meet other attorneys in your area.  Most people are much more likely to remember you if they can put a face to a name and the people that go to these events go to network and promote themselves as attorneys.  Do not be shy about introducing yourself to older attorneys at these meetings, but do think about what you can talk about beforehand to advance yourself as an attorney and as a specialist in a particular area of the law (“I have this really interesting case involving the Trade Secrets Protection Act” or “I was researching new tax legislation the other day”). 

Getting involved in your local bar association is not limited to the “big bar.”  Joining your local young lawyers’ division is a great way to get your name out as well.  Not only do these YLDs often have social events, but they also do service projects and run a variety of committees that are always looking for help.  The YLD offers an opportunity for an attorney to get their name out through projects both in the community as well as to other attorneys.

Putting your name into the community is simpler than one might think.  Outside of getting involved in bar service projects, everything that an attorney does puts their name out in the community.  One of the first questions asked of anyone is what they do for a living as soon as they find out that you are an attorney, your name is out there.  You can get recognition through activities such as joining a soccer team, joining a group within your religious organization, or volunteering for a service group operating in your area.  People will remember your contribution to your activities and remember that you are an attorney: your name is out there.

The key to all of this is getting involved and doing something outside of your billable day.  Bar associations at all levels offer great opportunities to volunteer for projects and to write articles for practice specific publications and for publications aimed at the bar as a whole.  The most important thing is not to limit yourself based on experience – when you offer to summarize the big case just published about a change in property law for the real estate section’s newsletter, the editor will be glad to accept it without questioning your qualifications.  And, when it is published, other attorneys will remember the signature block from the insightful and helpful article, just like this one.

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About the Author

Rebecca Niburg Department of Justice, Civil Division Office of Immigration Litigation.

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