For clients, there’s nothing worse than trying to find an attorney and having to scan through pages of monotonous résumés that don’t tell you much of anything about the prospective lawyer’s personality. For the most part, clients don’t really care about what law firms you’ve worked with in the past (as only 2% of the population can even recognize the largest law firm’s logo), or what your educational background is (unless it’s from a high-profile university); they just want to know that you’ll represent them well and that you’re someone they can work with. So how exactly do you get that across in a short bio? These do’s and don’ts below should help you reach out to prospective clients more effectively.
Write A Bio That Makes Clients Want To Meet You
First things first, the best attorney profiles typically have absolutely nothing to do with legal services. Instead, a good lawyer bio makes the client want to come in and meet you just because you sound interesting! Utilize funny anecdotes, provide a little foundational information about your skills and expertise (though don’t hark on this), and maintain a casual tone of voice to really make your bio stand out amongst the thousands of dry attorney bios. Though many of your fellow peers may look at your profile and scoff at the “unprofessional nature,” they are not the targeted reader of your bio. Seriously, how many lawyer bios tout themselves as “experienced” and “client-focused?” What the bio should provide is a little background about who you are, not what you do. A great example would be from Marque Lawyers, who have one of the most engaging “about us” pages that I’ve seen. Here’s just a randomly selected one describing their Senior Associate: Chris arrived at Marque with all the wisdom of a young man who's seen life from the other side of the Local Court bench, the burning desire to stand up and advocate and an Ipod full of indie rock songs we'd never heard before but have learned to love. Now a Senior Associate in our litigation team with a particular passion for IP and the music industry, star of the soccer team, occasionally disinterested netball sub and guitarist/singer with the very credible band Pontiac (formerly Bird Automatic; no idea why they changed it). He swears his inevitable celebrity will not give him a big head nor diminish his love for all things litigious. Not many firms can boast a genuine in-house Rock God, let alone such a modest one. Doesn’t that bio just make you want to meet this incredible person? It establishes a sense of personal touch right off the bat, something that many clients often say is missing from the legal industry.
But Don’t Forget To List Your Accomplishments
Though I used Chris’s bio as an example of an excellent use of a casual tone, Marque did leave out his accomplishments that he’s received through the years. Though listing awards and recognitions may be viewed by some as vain, it does provide legitimacy to your expertise. If you have a very personable bio this shouldn’t be an issue, as you can just place a list of your accomplishments underneath. If you don’t have enough awards to jaw-drop potential clients, then just leave them out altogether.
Keep It Short
When people are searching and comparing lawyers, they don’t want to spend hours of their time reading through bios. They want to get the gist of what type of person you are and what your track record/expertise is. Especially in this era of 160 character limits, if you’re going over 250 words, you need to cut out some fat and be more concise. Channel your inner Hemingway and be certain that every single word has a purpose in the bio, if there’s no real necessity for it, take it out.
Leave The Legalese At Home
Listen, no one likes to feel stupid, and nothing makes somebody feel more stupid than when people use words that they don’t know with the assumption that they do. Further, it’s been scientifically proven that legalese is substantively weaker and less persuasive than plain English, so you may even consider dropping the jargon all together. It can come across as somewhat snarky and surely leaves a bad taste in the client’s mouth whenever legalese is thrown around willy-nilly. Again, you must keep the targeted reader in mind while formulating your bio. A good rule of thumb is to ask a 15-year-old to read your bio and see if they didn’t understand any words. If they didn’t understand one, just use a synonym that’s a little simpler.
Keep SEO (somewhat) In Mind
Search engine optimization (a.k.a. “SEO,” or where you show up on search engines), is absolutely essential to any successful online marketing campaign. With this in mind, think about what people are typing into search bars while they’re looking for you and include some of those keywords within your bio. Google’s algorithms literally change daily to mitigate “SEO cheating,” so there’s not a tried-and-true method to receive higher rankings (in fact, if you try and stack your website with keywords, Google will punish you in your search rankings). So, don’t try to keyword-cram, but be sure to add heavily searched terms like “DUI attorney” or “divorce litigation” throughout your bio, as well as the town, county, and state in which you practice. Another way to significantly boost your SEO is by providing links to external websites within your own. This ‘backlinking’ is a huge determinant of where you show up on search results, so wherever you get the chance, be sure to include hyperlinks.
Hire A Professional Writer
If you don’t feel as though you can write a complete “about me” page with all of the parameters outlined above, then it will be well worth your money to hire a freelance writer to draft up a bio for you. For a measly $30 you can hire a top freelance writer from WriterAccess to throw together a 300 word biography.
If you found this article interesting, consider reading Building Your Online Reputation.