Business Development Leveraging Growth Opportunities

Playing the Fame Game: How to Amplify Your Lawyers’ Reputations to Stand Out from the Rest

In the competitive landscape of legal services, how can your lawyers stand out? As someone who has worked with more than 10,000 lawyers for three decades, I’ve come to understand that it’s not just about being a good lawyer — it’s also about being recognized as one. In an industry teeming with skilled lawyers, the question isn't just about who has the best credentials, but also who shines the brightest. It’s a game of being the tree in the forest that makes a lot of noise when it falls.

David H. Freeman, JD

And that noise must be good noise, noise that will be recognized and remembered in niche areas, and noise your lawyers will feel comfortable making. Being salesy and blatantly promotional won’t sit well with your lawyers or their potential clients, so we must find approaches that resonate with both groups.

To truly rise above the rest, lawyers must be seen as a better choice than their contemporaries. And to be seen, they must be known. This goes beyond just having practice areas or having a track record of success. It means proactively positioning your lawyers in ways that stand out from others by understanding what buyers of legal services respect, what information they need, where they get that information (what they read, listen to and where they spend their time online) and where they congregate.

There are two primary arenas where lawyers can amplify their fame: inside the firm and outside with potential clients, referrals sources and the media.


Building reputations within the firm can propel careers forward. This is where future referrals, collaborations and leadership opportunities are born. Here are a few approaches that can help your lawyers enhance their internal fame. 

Leadership Titles: The title of leader conveys a subtle but powerful message of superiority and trust. Have your lawyers seek leadership roles, even if they’re small to begin with. It could be a deputy position supporting another leader, or leading an initiative that has no one in charge but should get done. Taking on these roles creates visibility among other firm members and demonstrates important traits of responsibility, initiative and capability.

High-Profile Committees and Initiatives: Being involved in important internal projects or committees can increase their visibility and show commitment to the firm’s success. Your lawyers should find projects that resonate with them and give them exposure to lawyers who could refer work to them.

“The essence of playing the fame game lies not just in showcasing skills, but in strategically positioning lawyers to be at the right place at the right time.”

Form Your Go-To Group: Have your lawyers build relationships with other lawyers who have complementary practices and whom they will feel comfortable working with. Proactively building these internal friendships enhances the “know, like and trust” factor that keeps lawyers top-of-mind with each other and serves as a precursor to activate more cross-selling.

Teach and Learn: Encourage your lawyers to showcase their talents by regularly conducting internal training sessions or workshops. Similarly, encourage them to be curious about what others do so they can be more effective selling the firm’s services while deepening internal relationships.

Cross-Selling Opportunities: One of the best ways to get noticed and liked is by putting money in someone else’s pocket. Urge your lawyers to find opportunities to introduce other firm lawyers to their clients. This creates a quadruple win: The giving lawyer is a hero for finding work for others; the receiving lawyer gets new work; the giving lawyer may get work referred back from the receiving lawyer down the road; and the client solves a problem with a firm they trust.


Potential clients are looking for good lawyers to handle their matters, so your lawyers must make it easier to be found. Here is a step-by-step process for them to do that.

Identify Your Fans: First, your lawyers must know and find their target audience by industry, company, title and other details.

Upgrade Bios and LinkedIn: This is their first audition for prospective clients, so make it count. Add elements that describe what makes them different, tell success stories and add representative matters.

Find Emerging Topics: Have your lawyers write articles or commentaries on contemporary issues or trends that are important to their practice and audience.

Interview Industry Leaders: In support of writing and speaking, engaging with top professionals gives your lawyers reasons to meet those people, while also generating third-party credibility by association.

Participate in Key Organizations: Your lawyers must be in the room where it happens. Have them join, actively participate and take leadership positions in organizations and groups where potential clients congregate.

Speaking: Speaking at industry conferences, seminars and webinars provides a platform where your lawyers can share their expertise while also receiving third-party credibility as thought leaders.

Digital Footprint: Have your lawyers stay visible on targeted social media platforms by posting, engaging, sharing and commenting.

Media Engagement: Have your lawyers reach out to targeted media sources to serve as resources for quotes and opinions.

Promote Firm Successes: Regular press releases or updates about the firm's achievements can provide name recognition and macro branding support for your lawyer’s individual efforts.

The essence of playing the fame game lies not just in showcasing skills, but in strategically positioning lawyers to be at the right place at the right time. Whether they’re interacting with a colleague down the corridor or writing an article for an esteemed legal publication, each action is another deposit in their fame account.`

Check out the Legal Management Talk podcast episodes on this crucial topic! First, hear more from David Freeman on why and how your firm should double down on its business development efforts. Then, Ioana Good, Adrien Maines and Peter Johnson describe how to use data to ensure your attorneys are playing the business development roles they’re best at. Tune in today!