The Professional Elite: Formula for Fame

The Professional Elite: Formula for Fame

High visibility lawyers get the best clients, television shows, book deals and earn 10 times the norm; but how do they get celebrity status? The new book, "Fame 101," identifies a mix of powerful personal branding and celebrity-level publicity as the common formula of America's super successful. "Fame 101" is a blueprint for harnessing branding and publicity power using the fame formula proven by Gloria Allred, Gerry Spence, Johnnie Cochran, and all others in the profession's elite 1 percent past and present. Published by Sutton Hart Press.

MAGGIE JESSUP, former investigative reporter turned publicity maven, is America's leading publicist and a pioneering advocate for powerful personal branding. She heads Platform Strategy, an award-winning publicity and branding boutique that works with attorneys and other professionals to expand their visibility, recognition, and income.

[Book Excerpt]


The Most Powerful Force in Our Oprahfied Universe
"In a country of equals, some people are certainly more 'equal' than others. They have that indefinable something; powerful personal branding defines that something. The exciting thing is that anyone can become a compelling brand in their profession."

What is Fame?
Fame is our society's most powerful force; celebrities, those that have it are the super elite of our culture. If you doubt the concept, drop in on any DC cocktail party and watch Nobel Prize winners, powerful Congressmen and Fortune 500 board chairs become blithering idiots when introduced to Brad Pill or Tiger Woods or John Grisham. Fame is more than sex appeal, it's more than charisma, and it's not just for rock stars. Quite simply it is raw power of the most exciting sort.

Fame doesn't lend itself to simple definition but you can explain it by example:

  • Fame is why the latest Diet Doctor gets 10 times more press than the world's most promising stem cell scientist.
  • Fame is why the fi rst photos of J-Lo's baby sold for millions and pies of your child are languishing on Ebay with a one dollar bid.
  • Fame is why Paula Deen could run for Congress in Georgia and probably win.
  • Fame is why we pay attention to Paris Hilton, cleverly branded as America's party girl.
  • Fame explains President Obama's election, Governor Terminator's second term and it's why the guy who graduated at the bottom of your law school class has a book deal, the very best clients, and is always on CNN.

We all know fame when we see it but perhaps we don't recognize exactly what it is; rather, we just know that the famous are somehow just a little bit better or at least more interesting than the rest of us. In essence, fame is that difference between us and them; defining that difference and learning to replicate their strategies and secrets is what this book is about.

Lawyers: While The Rest Are Lunching, The Players Are Launching
Some years ago we overheard a conversation between two successful businessmen at an upscale private club. Under the guise of complaining they were engaging in some subtle one-upmanship. While they were seemingly complaining, in actuality they were bragging. One fellow protested "My lawyer is killing me. He charges $400 an hour!" The other responded "Mine too. She charges about the same but she's the One Who Wrote the Book."

If you're a professional and harbor any doubts about the applicability of the fame strategy to your circumstance, remember that conversation and it's just one illustration of how some notoriety can enhance your brand value and income. We can promise you that no one will question your fees, although not everyone will be able to afford them, I if you become a best-selling author in the field.'

America's law schools are turning out insane numbers of lawyers and most of them picture themselves in two thousand dollar suits arguing for the rights of a high paying client before the United States Supreme Court. The Lamborghini, arm candy, and major crib will soon follow. And those are just the new lawyers. The older lawyers who survive in the profession dream of judgeships, the ten million dollar case or the celebrity client.

The top one percent of the legal profession has all those perks or at least as many of them as they want. They might own a winery, contribute to the arts and seem to have an endless supply of high-paying clients. Are these super lawyers the ones who came out at the top of their class as some amazingly elite law school? Do they have the best legal minds? The answer is typically No to these questions.

In our consultancy we get to meet quite a few lawyers as we do seminars at law fi rms wanting to leap to the top one percent of their fields. They absolutely cannot figure out how another lawyer, who isn't as smart or connected, effortlessly gathers most of the best clients. They see their less talented contemporaries featured in the society columns, winning book deals, and getting short listed for judicial appointments.

Here's the difference: the "lucky" ones understand and apply the fame formula: celebrity-level publicity + powerful personal branding. Most don't even realize they're doing it but the most successful, the ones with the big brands that last a lifetime, completely get it. They invest in publicity; they plan their professional activities to operate in a synergistic manner and they pay constant attention to their personal brand.

Does this mean they're overly concerned about their image, alerting the media every time they buy a new shirt? Do they have crazy big egos? Absolutely not. The fame formula is not superfi cial; it's a process where you make certain strategic personal and professional decisions reSUlting in a solid base from which you can gather all that life has to offer. It's simply smart personal branding, smart marketing, and appropriate publicity; typically backed by some cool technology and social media.

Did you watch CN N this morning? America's love affair with experts covers lawyers too. I can almost guarantee there was at least one talking head attorney, a CNN legal correspondent giving an opinion on a case he or she knew nothing about other than what they'd seen on CNN. It seems kind of foolish when you look at the phenomenon from this angle but that's the way it is.

If you want to be THE attorney in your town, your state, or even the country, roll out your own fame plan: write a book, give the right speech to the right audience, get some media attention and use it wisely. Fame will give you a television show, the most desirable clients or even a Senate seat - take your pick or make your own wish list for fame to deliver.

Excerpted from "Fame 101" by Maggie Jessup ( Published by Sutton Hart Press © 2010. Used with permission.