YOUR LEGAL WRITES: Law firm style and stardom


CHARLESTON -- Legal consultant Trey Ryder believes there are 35 secrets to becoming a "superstar lawyer."

He shares each one on the Web site that bears his name, beginning with making personal marketing a priority.

Ryder explains that superstar lawyers believe nothing is more important than credibility, which feeds into the idea that they must be respected as authorities in their area of practice. Superstars are warm, friendly, dignified and confident people, and they remain positive, grateful and polite at all times.

Ryder claims that famous lawyers make themselves accessible to everyone, especially clients, who are free to contact them at any hour of the day. To help superstars achieve even greater success, these particular lawyers hire coaches to show them what they're doing right and wrong, mainly in the categories of image and public perception.

In Charleston, that coach could be Jane Powell.

As the managing member of and senior stylist for Image by Jane, Powell assists individual clients and corporations with business development training, which could be called an industry of strategic style. Her consulting agency focuses on improving the physical appearance of companies and the employees within it, a form of marketing from the inside-out.

Powell offers clients advice on professional dressing, counseling them in the areas of wardrobe planning and selection, cosmetics and hairstyles, personal grooming, and etiquette. She tells clients to spend as much as they can afford on clothing of the highest quality, and she educates them in the subject of color psychology. She reminds men and women of the rules governing proper dressing, from linen in the summer to wool in the winter. Powell believes that a professional wardrobe is not complete without the presence of a classic, dark suit – and one that is worn with a starched, white shirt. Aside from being known for years as a garment guru, Powell has tapped into a niche of transforming everyday people into professional celebrities.

A type of personal publicist, Powell helps people reinvent themselves after career setbacks and life changes, which could be as simple as returning to the workforce after an extended maternity leave to recovering from an embarrassing job loss. Powell partners with executives striving for promotions and leadership positions, including those preparing for political campaigns.

The Hollywood elite is not the only population hiring personal assistants and stylists to manage aspects of their personal and professional lives. Today, "regular" families employ chefs to prepare meals, attendants to sit with pets, and social secretaries to schedule their days and nights. Personal assistants and image consultants are involved in every detail of a person's life, including the organization of home offices and closets. Placement agencies stress that the best lifestyle managers are persuasive communicators with experience in the area of sales, public relations, law, and sociology. One agency director called their assistants "miracle workers," because they were able to please the most impossible personalities in the business.

Powell has been in the public eye herself, serving as a television commentator, fashion show announcer, special event coordinator, and personal shopper. She spends other people's money, but in return, she provides a return on their investment. As Mae West remarked, "It's better to be looked over than overlooked."

Powell is available for both corporate and individual consultations, as well as speaking engagements. She can be reached at 304.542.7366 or

Brown is the managing member of The Write Word, LLC, a professional writing and editing agency based in Charleston.

More Stories