This article is written by Ramanuj Mukherjee, CEO, LawSikho.

Recently a LawSikho student approached me. He is looking to quit his current job and find something new. He was deeply dissatisfied with his previous job. The work wasn’t good. The boss was unfair. The salary was much lower than what he was expecting.

This was his first job. After putting in almost a year, he is now looking for a new and better job.

The only problem is that it has been extremely hard to get relevant interviews or even response to applications.

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But is that at all surprising? This is a situation that a lot of young lawyers face. Many would be able to relate to this situation.

I asked my student to send across his CV to me. I asked him to make a few minor corrections. And still, I was not satisfied with it. To be honest, he is a lawyer practicing for one year now, but the CV looked like that of a law student. There was not enough interesting things on it that he did as a lawyer, things that would help to establish his credibility.

Therefore, I asked him to write two dozen articles in the area of expertise he is targeting to develop. This should help a lot.

However, this is nothing compared to what becomes possible when you have built up and invested in your personal brand over the years. You can get incredible results.

Take Jay Sayta, founder of GLaws and my former junior from NUJS as an example. Jay quit his first job at a law firm within 3 months. He was asked to stay back and open a gaming law desk. He chose to instead start his own gaming law practice independently. He has succeeded in establishing himself as a leading lawyer in the gaming space very early on, and boasts of many marquee clients. Since he left the big law firm, Jay has continued to work for himself. Here he has shared how blogging enabled him to build a law practice.

What is a personal brand? Recently I was talking to Apoorva Mandhani, a well known legal writer about who we could call for guest lectures for an upcoming course that we are planning on blogging and branding for lawyers. One of the names she took was Jay’s. I was pleasantly surprised, and impressed by the personal brand Jay has been able to build.

Apoorva has never met Jay in her life, but she had a positive opinion of Jay, and thought that Jay is an expert at legal writing. This is what it means to have a personal brand.

What enables a first year law graduate with very little experience to venture out to build their own practice in a very niche area like gaming laws and then succeed? It is a personal brand he started building while he was still in law school, right from his first year in college.

Another amazing example of personal brand building I have seen in my experience is of Puneet Bhasin, a leading cyber lawyer. Puneet had done a course with us back in 2012-13. I encouraged her to pursue blogging at the time. Here is something she shared about her experience. This article also contains experiences of Jay Sayta and Swaraj Paul Barooah, another prolific blogger.

Puneet went on to master personal branding. At present, she receives many accolades and awards every year and is often recognized as a leading cyber lawyer in India. She also runs Cyberjure Academy which offers courses and certification to infosec experts, cyber lawyers, data officers and other professionals who are impacted by cyber laws. Of course, this has a tremendous effect on her brand as a cyber lawyer too!

There are many other examples of young lawyers who have built significant brands early on. Gautam Bhatia, for example, is well known for his live tweets of important constitutional cases, massive following on twitter and the books he has written. All of that launched him into a very different league of lawyers.

Another great example will be that of Apar Gupta. While Apar is pursuing a different kind of activism about data privacy these days, earlier he was a practicing lawyer and his constant crusade in the interest of causes like privacy, freedom of speech and other things apart from regular blogging and being active on Twitter helped him to get a lot of personal branding. His personal brand was further strengthened when he was recognized by Forbes as a 30 under 30 remarkable Indians for his contribution to law.

As you can see, there are some common themes in these stories. Lawyers who stood up for bigger causes, or started writing about an industry, going beyond what most lawyers do, provided a lot of value to others and that led to the building of strong personal brands. These brands manifest through many achievements and signals, such as strong presence in social media, blogging, media coverage, contribution to social causes, recognition amongst fellow lawyers as well as other citizens and building of organizations.

What can you do to build your brand? When should you do it? Is there ever enough time to do this?

I told my student to not be in a hurry to quit his job. He is not all that bad at his work. I took a look at the assignment he has been submitting with us, and he has done mostly well. I also asked him to draft a contract, he did fine. Still, he is struggling to find a decent job. Why is that? One way to look at it is that he has failed to build a personal brand.

I asked him to take his time, and start building his brand on the side while continuing in the same job. The task at hand is simple. Make a list of things that you can do that can enhance your brand and start doing these things. In a matter of few months, you will have amazing opportunities in your life that you could not even imagine earlier.

Recently, another friend who was very unhappy about her job as a senior associate at a big law firm also started doing the exact same thing. Except there was one problem. Big law firms know that if you build your own brand you can easily leave them. And that is why they have created policies that prevent you from building your own brand while you work for them.

My friend, therefore, quit her job to start investing her time in building her own brand. After all, what do clients pay a lot of money for? It is after all, for a brand.

She has to do the same damn thing as the first year lawyer. Before quitting, she made a list of things that she was going to do. And now she is checking them off the list one by one. Those things include publishing a book, starting events and finding speaking opportunities that would put her in touch with potential recruiters, clients and collaborators, and even meet a lot of lawyers face to face in order to build a solid professional network.

I hope I have given you enough examples of other people. Now let us get started with some ideas you can think about, as far as your own personal brand building is considered:


You can write books. You can write articles. You can blog. You can write in magazines. Writing fosters credibility. It helps people to see what you know, and the depth of your insights. One cannot fake their writing track record. A lot of lawyers claim to be experts at everything, but if one has been writing on a subject consistently over a period of time, then they probably know a lot on that subject.

Writing also has many other benefits, but the impact on your personal brand is profound.

You may think that you are no one and why would anyone publish your article. Most of it is just self sabotaging thought process. Our students in LawSikho are required to write and publish one article every month at least. Many of them have begun to publish once a week also. Most websites are hungry for content, and if you give them something that their readers would want to read, they will publish super fast.

This is how I got published in many media platforms: The Wire, Huffington Post, Firstpost etc. You need to understand what kind of article they like to publish, and then send that kind of articles.

Don’t publish in formal legal journals, nobody reads them. It will be a terrible waste of your time and effort. Opt for content hungry blogs with millions of readers. You want a lot of people to read about what you are writing.

Most legal publishers are eager to publish new books. It is not hard to find a publisher. When I was in college, I saw two sets of seniors publishing their books while they were still students. One was on SEZ laws, and another was on biotechnology law.

I started writing a book in college on advertising law and never finished. However, you could. It just takes discipline and dedication. I managed to write a lot since then as I developed that discipline.

When Arvind Datar gave an interview on, he told us how editing Ramayya and regular writing and scholarly work played a very big role in his recognition at the bar and achieving professional success.

If you have been finding it hard to do, keep an eye out, we are going to launch a course on blogging and writing, and you will learn how to start writing and publish your book in a few months, strategically, and by following a very streamlined process.

Blogging is also equally powerful. Will Prof. Umakanth Varottil, Shamnad Basheer or Somasekhar Sundaresan would be as famous and as revered if they were not prolific bloggers? It is hard to find a regular blogger who does not have notoriety and widespread recognition in the legal fraternity. Still, it is a mystery as to why so few lawyers take up blogging.


Start by volunteering at events. It will help you to get in touch with many amazing people who you would otherwise will not have access to. Learn how events are organized. Then begin to organize your own events.

I am taking my own pill and I am going to start a monthly event in Delhi office of LawSikho. One Sunday every month, we will invite 3 amazing successful and young lawyers to mentor lawyers and law students who will come to the event. The experts will guide the rest of us on how to pick up new skills and succeed in our lives.

Contribute, generate value through your events and help people out. The more value you give to the world, the more your personal brand will become stronger.

We also sponsor many events. Recently we sponsored and supported an event by JRTC Intern. It was a national summit on legal skill development, attended by hundreds of law students and dozens of lawyers who came down from different cities to attend it.

An arbitration lawyer recently told me that he has a foodie group through which he keeps in touch with younger lawyers. What an amazing method!

If you volunteer at events, the other organizers will sometimes let you speak. This is how I used to get speaking slots in Startup Saturday events while I was just a law student. Every time I spoke at events, I would inevitably land one or two new clients. Isn’t that amazing?

More than money, good intention and hustle is needed to succeed here. Keep experimenting till you get your events right. However, face-to-face group gatherings are just awesome.

Mentor juniors and find mentors for yourself

The best relationships are one on one. People who personally know you, care for you and speak good things about you, are the strongest proponents of your personal brand. Others take a cue from them and follow suit.

You should contribute to the lives of your juniors with the skill, knowledge and care that you have. Never think that you have nothing to offer. Every single person has skills and knowledge and time to give. If nothing, you can give a patient hearing, give them support when they need that, and extend a helping hand. If nothing else, you can be kind. Even that, simply, is a powerful act of personal brand building.

Similarly, find older and more successful people who would champion your cause because they appreciate what you are doing and what you stand for. This is why doing something worthwhile is so important for someone trying to build a powerful personal brand.

Being self absorbed does not help at all though, when it comes to building brands. You should meet a lot of people one on one every month, and explore what you can do for them. More people you have helped and contributed to, even if you have no mentor-mentee relationship with them, your personal brand will become very strong over time.
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Social media

It is not possible to talk about personal branding without talking about social media these days. You can amass a large following, engage with the public, and spread your message far and wide if you know how to use social media right. It is a skill to learn.

Learning to make and edit videos is becoming a key skill, as publishing videos can have a huge impact, far more than even writing articles for mainstream newspapers. Face recall is far more, and people follow you more actively on channels like YouTube and Instagram.

Social media has given us an opportunity to educate the common citizen about the laws and in the process build powerful social media profiles with massive influence. It is high time someone starts posting about constitutional law or criminal law or environmental law on Instagram or YouTube.

Being active on social media often results in coverage by mainstream media also. In most cases, it takes years to build good social media profiles. However, starting early, focussing on valuable content and consistency is the key.

Pro bono work

One method for personal brand building is almost always ignored and is perhaps the most powerful for that reason alone. By working for free for powerful and important causes, and doing a very good job at that, you attract the attention of the whole society, as well as the bar and the bench. Filing important PILs in genuine public interest is a good example of this at work. So is helping out indigent prisoners by fighting their cases for free. I did a lot of free work for young entrepreneurs which helped me a lot when I was trying to build a legal risk management consultancy as a college kid, as well as later when I was working on Cliklawyer.

Trust is missing with respect to lawyers. Lawyers who do pro bono work and do a good job at it, earn the trust of the legal community as well as potential clients. Please spend some of your productive time mandatorily doing pro bono work.

Your work speaks for itself, but it needs a platform to be audible to the rest of the world

Many lawyers will insist that good lawyers need no brand building. That is just misguided. Good lawyers also need great brand building. People need to discover what you are upto and what you are capable of. Without that, it will be very hard to succeed in the cutthroat world of law practice. Give your hard work and brilliant insights a chance, give them a platform where it gets visibility.

In India, even lawyers find it hard to trust other lawyers. Building a brand is therefore the only way to cut through the clutter and succeed. All I say is that do not leave it to chance.

That platform is your personal brand. Just like money in the bank, it keeps growing unless you take it out by doing things that damage your brand.

In all our courses, we help our students to understand the importance of brand building. We also guide them on how they could build their personal brands. Do check out our courses.

We understand what it takes for you to succeed as a lawyer. We will guide you all the way. Do not hesitate to contact us.

Prices of all courses are going up from 4th May.


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