Originally published in Law Week Colorado.
In-house attorneys occupy a unique position at the intersection of the legal and business communities. This gives them the opportunity to use their skills and dedication to take on the responsibility of improving and enhancing the legal landscape.
How can they do this? By becoming active in causes that matter to them. This kind of involvement in what has been termed “cause marketing” has taken off in the legal world, where lawyers can leverage their reputations and platforms to elevate causes they care about — benefiting not just their personal brands and their companies, but also doing some good in their communities.
With groups like Legal Entrepreneurs for Justice (LEJ), a start-up incubator for attorneys that seeks to innovate in the legal profession while helping provide access to justice for underserved communities, more general counsel are fully exploring and claiming their places as leaders in their companies and their communities while also enriching the world around them.
Shifting Expectations of In-House Lawyers
In-house attorneys are more than “just” lawyers. They are leaders, businesspeople, simultaneously legal specialists and generalists and directors of the triage often involved in supporting their business needs. Successful general counsel have harnessed these skills and expanded on the work that is important to them through implementing cause marketing as a part of their personal marketing campaigns.
Through this type of community presence and service, they continue to enhance their positions of prominence in the legal community while maintaining the kind of competitive edge in their practices that leads to lasting career success and satisfaction.
Picking a Cause and Executing a Plan
A key part of cause marketing for in-house lawyers is choosing the right organization by taking a broad look at social causes that align with their background, brand, or previous experience in private practice. For example, an in-house attorney for a tech company might partner with an incubator that provides in-sight to start-up legal practices.
Regardless of where in-house attorneys decide to donate their valuable time and expertise, the chosen cause should also be personally important. When attorneys select a cause that fits their worldview, they are more likely to go above and beyond in their efforts to support it, with ultimately greater and more satisfying professional, personal and wide-reaching results.
Getting Connected in the Legal Community
While exploring opportunities in cause marketing, in-house attorneys can look at local resources that connect attorneys interested in supporting their community with organizations open to collaboration. For example, LEJ’s motto is “Doing Well by Doing Good,” and this mission is an integral part of all that it does, as evidenced in the resources, training, mentoring and support that LEJ provides to the socially conscious legal entrepreneurs who serve the underserved population in Colorado.
Meranda Vieyra, board member of Legal Entrepreneurs for Justice and owner of Denver Legal Marketing, co-authored this article with Laurie Gilbertson, Executive Director and Board Member of Legal Entrepreneurs for Justice and Owner of Tribeca Blue Consulting.
Read the full article here.