Heather Nevitt.

Recently, I was able to attend and participate in a conference recognizing amazing women attorneys from around the globe. It was a humbling experience to network with these high-level legal leaders and celebrate their successes.

As part of this conference, I also got to participate in a panel focused on the idea that we are all a “brand”—whether we want to be or not. And in the world of social media, we have the opportunity to build that personal brand to help in our career development, to help become a thought leader in a specific area of expertise and help build value to our company or firm.

This idea of building a personal brand made me think of our cover feature this month. Our feature talks about what is important to new Texas partners. As Brenda Sapino Jeffreys reports, one of the topics that new partners felt was a priority in their success in their new role, was their ability bring in clients—business development.

Our annual survey showed that 57.9 percent of new Texas partners felt that developing their own clients is very important to their career, and another 36.8 percent considered it somewhat important. But nearly half of them said their firm does not give them a budget for professional or business development. Nationally, about the same percentage of them echoed that statistic.

Now we all know how important that transportable “book of business” is for your career and success within a firm. And the ability to network and win over clients is a skill set that we don’t learn in law school. So, without a big budget, developing your personal brand through social media might be a skill set underutilized in your goal of business building and growing your network. So, thumbs up to LinkedIn and Twitter … at least they are free.