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How General Counsels Can Build a Compelling Career Brand

Alex Su, Head of Community Development at Ironclad
Alex Su, Head of Community Development at Ironclad

Getting a job as a general counsel isn’t just about doing great legal work. Top GCs in tech also have to build a compelling career brand. Here’s how.


  • Team L Suite

Career & Brand Building


  • Alex Su

    Chief Revenue Officer
    Alex Su, Chief Revenue Officer, at Latitude
About Alex Su

Alex Su is the Chief Revenue Officer at Latitude; previously he was Head of Community Development at Ironclad, a technology company that helps legal departments create, understand, and manage their contracts. Earlier in his career, he was an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell and served as a law clerk to the Hon. Edmond E. Chang of the Northern District of Illinois. Alex graduated from the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law in 2010, where he was an editor of the law review and the student commencement speaker. You can follow Alex on LinkedIn or Twitter, or sign up for his newsletter Off The Record, where he shares stories and observations about his journey from law to technology.

When you’re exploring new career opportunities as a GC, you’re probably polishing up your resume, reaching out to recruiters, and telling former colleagues that you’re looking. But there’s another crucial strategy: building your brand online.

In today’s social-media driven culture, recruiters and hiring executives alike want to know that you not only have the legal chops for the job, but also that you’re a strategic thinker and partner. And a great way to do that right away is to show them, whether that’s sharing your expertise on LinkedIn or speaking at conferences or on podcasts.

But if you haven’t ever thought about developing a personal brand online, where should you start? And what are some of the common mistakes you should avoid?

To get expert advice on building your personal brand as a legal professional, we spoke with Alex Su, former Head of Community Development at Ironclad. Over the past few years, he’s grown his LinkedIn audience to more than 90,000 followers, launched a newsletter about law and technology, and created video skits that have received over a hundred million views.

Read on to learn all about building a personal brand that will help you expand your network and propel your career forward as a GC.

Key Takeaways

  • Start small by commenting on others’ posts or writing about general topics that interest you on LinkedIn.
  • Look for speaking engagements in peer groups like The L Suite. General counsels can apply for membership.
  • Create content that optimizes for authentic engagement, not likes and comments.

Get the Basics Down, Then Start Small

Before you do anything, ensure your LinkedIn profile is completely filled out and accurately communicates your career story. You want to think through questions like:

  • What types of people and companies am I most interested in working with, and what would they be most eager to hear from me?
  • What about my background and expertise makes me stand out from other GCs?
  • What are the key accomplishments I’ve achieved throughout my career?

Make sure your profile — especially your headline and summary statement — makes the answers to those questions clear. Once that’s done, you can start creating content by commenting on other people’s posts when you have something to add to the conversation.

“In the beginning, you won’t have an audience online, and it can feel like you’re shouting into the void. Finding places to comment is the first step, and as you do it consistently people will begin to notice you,.” says Su.

Since people often struggle to speak about their work history (whether due to employee confidentiality or other issues), it can be a good idea to weigh in on general topics in your field where you can still lend your legal expertise while speaking more broadly. You can find your online “voice” by speaking about what interests you and what you know. Once you begin to see what resonates with people, lean into that while continuing to stay true to who you are.

At the end of the day, consistency is key. “It’s much better to post something once a week for an entire year than something every day for just a few weeks,.” adds Su.

Extend Your Reach Through Speaking Opportunities

There are a ton of places that are eager to partner with smart, tech-savvy GCs to create content for conferences, webinars, blog posts, podcasts, and newsletters. By seeking out and applying for these opportunities, you’ll be able to expand the reach of your network and brand very quickly.

“Partnering with an established company on marketing content (e.g., Ironclad or The L Suite, for example) is a great way to get your name in front of a large audience very quickly,” says Su.

One unexpected advantage of doing speaking engagements is that you’ll be able to continuously practice telling your career story. Outside of job interviews, most people don’t spend a lot of time talking about who they are as a professional. As you continue to take advantage of speaking opportunities, you’ll become more of an expert at speaking about your career highlights and areas of expertise.

When you’re starting out, it’s important not to turn down speaking opportunities for being too small. “Do as many speaking engagements as possible in the beginning. As you gain experience and become more well known, you can get more specific about what opportunities make sense for you,.” says Su.

Consider How Open You Want to Be Radically Transparent (Most of the Time)

When looking at LinkedIn these days, you might get the impression that everyone is being radically honest when it comes to work, even going as far as telling others that they’ve been laid off or why they left a specific company. But is this a good way to build your personal brand?

According to Su, it depends. There are ways to do it well, but you have to be careful. A few years ago, being vulnerable set you apart and helped get views on your posts. So now everyone’s doing it. These days, you want to be careful about not becoming the person who’s known for oversharing online,” he says. “. It really comes down to what your goals are.”

You can talk about nearly anything if it’s framed the right way. Be transparent if it’s going to help you tell your career story in the best way. But don’t get overly personal just because that’s what your connections are doing on LinkedIn. Everyone has their own goals. The way a GC at an edgy, consumer-focused startup uses LinkedIn might be different than someone who is trying to get hired at a public company in a highly regulated industry. As always, use your best judgment, and – if you’re unsure, ask a respected peer to review posts you feel uncertain about.

Focus on Engagement, Not Reach

Regarding the biggest mistake he’s made while building his own brand, Su says, “I wasn’t being deliberate enough about what I posted, and I wasn’t thinking about how each thing I was doing was contributing to my overall personal brand. Trying to optimize for likes and views turned me into a character that’s quite different from who I am in real life.”

Don’t forget that the goal of building a personal brand isn’t to amass the most followers possible; the goal is to present a polished, accurate version of yourself online so that people know who you are and what you’re good at. “You can’t just focus on gaining visibility, you need to also have substance and expertise behind what you talk about,.” Su adds.

If you invest the time to successfully build your personal brand, you’ll uncover new connections in your community, have a professional network to run your ideas by, and eventually, opportunities will begin to come to you. As Su puts it: “Even though I didn’t do it perfectly every step of the way, putting myself out there on LinkedIn has made a huge difference in my career.”

Want to attend — and speak at — events where you can build your brand among other GCs in tech? Apply for membership to The L Suite today.

About The L Suite

Called “the gold standard for legal peer groups” and “one of the best professional growth investments an in-house attorney can make,” The L Suite is an invitation-only community for in-house legal executives. Over 2,000 members have access to 300+ world-class events per year, a robust online platform where leaders ask and answer pressing questions and share exclusive resources, and industry- and location-based salary survey data.

For more information, visit