"Uber is building a 70-lawyer in-house group. Constantly going to outside counsel got too spendy after partners instituted surge pricing on all billable hours over 80/week. [Law and More]" - Joe Patrice, "Non-Sequiturs," in link on Abovethelaw.com, May 18, 2015.
In the hyper-competitive field of legal journalism, Joe Patrice leverages angles and headlines to get attention. In the process, he develops fans who look for his articles. This evening, it was how he positioned and packaged my coverage in Law and More of Uber's in-house legal department which has made the article viral.
Lawyers might be thinking: Well, journalists can "get away" with those theatrics. We lawyers can't.
Wrong. Brands in the legal sector are being built the same way: through angles and headlines.
Consider the amazing career trajectory of David Boies after exiting a partnership at Cravath, Swaine and Moore in 1997. Intuitively or very consciously he shaped the branding for himself and his boutique firm Boise, Schiller & Flexner based on angles and headlines.
The angles include representing both big business and consumers. That's how he got down cold both default mindsets. He also made his own default not compromising. And that scares the dickens out of other lawyers and their clients. No, you don't want to be opposing a Boies' client.
The media took it from there. They then provided the provocative headlines. The latest is the major feature by Paul Barrett in BloombergBusiness. It describes Boies as an entrepreneur who is the best friend and worst enemy of big business. Of course, making explicit that branding in this provocative way is going to bring in more lucrative business for Boies Schiller.
The best of television series do exactly the same thing. They create brands like Tony Soprano and Don Draper. The powers behind those productions have put together so many angles for viewing the two that they wind up mirroring all of us, especially our own darkness. The titles of each episode had been magnets. And we still have Saul Goodman, who is All Angles. The episodes are titled so close to the bone that reviewers and those who recap often use them as their focus.
How to make the right angles and headlines for your branding?
Assume there are no right answers or even anything close to right in positioning and packaging yourself. That pushes you to start from scratch in pondering what you are offering clients, what you achieved in recent work and the implications of your thought leadership. Then get up to speed on the tone and language by reading a lot more of Patrice, along with BusinessInsider, TechCrunch and Politico.