Daily Dispatch

Ask the Legal Marketing Experts

Beefing Up Your Lawyer Bio? What’s Appropriate

By | Jul.22.13 | Ask the Experts, Business Development, Daily Dispatch, Legal Marketing

Question: Is there any room for personality on a lawyer’s Internet biography, or should it be all business?

Ask the Experts from the LMA

Seth AppleSeth M. Apple: Client engagement triggers are often pulled for reasons other than the practice descriptions, matter lists and industry awards that typically dominate attorney biographies. Are those things valuable? Absolutely. It’s important to demonstrate you have the experience clients are looking for, and when applicable, instances when that experience has been acknowledged by the various rankings that track the industry.

However, when viewed against your peers, are those descriptions, lists and awards really differentiators? Aren’t numerous attorneys in your space able to list similar accolades? I suspect so. When viewed collectively they can be an impressive component of your overall profile, but clients often hire lawyers they connect with on some personal level as well. So why not present as many engagement triggers as possible and give them a taste of your personality, too?

Tell them why you are passionate about your work, but also let them know what interests you other than the law. For example, explain what you do when you are not in the office, describe causes you support, identify distinctive skills you’ve developed or discuss a unique experience you had. In other words, show them who you are, not just what you are.

Seth M. Apple is a business development manager at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP and a former practicing attorney. He can be reached at seth.apple@davispolk.com or at @sethmapple. The opinions expressed herein are that of the author.

Rausa (3)Dorothy Rausa: Social media marketing has grown exponentially and impacted the way people purchase all goods and services, including high-end attorney services. Buyers want and expect a certain level of personal connection. Law firms that embrace this new marketing, and include some personality in their bios, are already ahead of the curve.

Attorney bios are the most visited pages on any firm’s website, so law firms should take advantage of this personal branding opportunity. Personality can differentiate an attorney from those with similar credentials and experience when a potential client is vetting attorneys online. It can also differentiate individual attorneys at big firms. Even in the case of large transactional deals, where the firm’s pedigree is more important, potential clients want to connect with the individual lawyer they might hire. Personality doesn’t have to be an anecdotal story — it can be a description of civic activities, hobbies, favorite quotes or work habits that make the attorney unique.

Clients want to hire an attorney they know, trust and like. Including some personality on an attorney bio can create that personal experience and connection that today’s buyers expect.

Dorothy Rausa is the director of marketing & business development at Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP, a statewide California labor, employment and immigration law firm. With over two decades of experience in legal administration and marketing, she leads the marketing and business development efforts for all five offices. She can be reached at drausa@cdflaborlaw.com or follow her on Twitter at @RausaDotCom.

Stacy A. SmithStacy A. Smith: Website analytics show that over 60% of visitors to your website land on lawyer biographies, and about 90% of general counsel indicate attorney biographies are the most important pages to them on a law firm website. Accordingly, it is very important to craft a rich and engaging biography.

It is fundamentally important for your biography to be well-written and professional, compliment the core values of your firm and its brand, and emphasize the traits that make you objectively distinguishable from your competitor. However, it is equally important to connect with your reader on a personal level – after all – they are interested in hiring a person, not buying a product.

Use your opening paragraph to connect with your reader.  Use your personality to lend a voice to your photograph, enhance your standard professional qualifications, and demonstrate who you are as a person as well as a practitioner. While you can incorporate personality anywhere in your biography, including an ‘Interests’ list or a video blog, the first paragraph is the paragraph that is read most often and may have the most impact.

Do not go overboard – there is a fine line between presenting yourself as a likeable, approachable professional and your biography becoming persona-overload.

Stacy A. Smith is the firm administrator and director of marketing and client relations at Carter Conboy, a full-service law firm with offices in Albany and Saratoga Springs, NY.

What’s Your Question?

No, not every law firm has a professional marketer or business development coach on staff to answer questions. So send us your questions via email or use the comment section below, and we’ll pass them on to the experts at the Legal Marketing Association. Watch for the best ones here in Ask the Expert.

legalmarketing.org 
 
The Legal Marketing Association provides professional support and education as well as opportunities for intellectual and practical information exchange.

 

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4 Responses to “Beefing Up Your Lawyer Bio? What’s Appropriate”

  1. Paula Marie Young
    22 July 2013 at 8:30 am #

    At the suggestion of my business coach, I am trying to get my bio to three or four paragraphs. She suggests less emphasis on credentials and more on the benefits you can offer clients. Thoughts?

  2. Stacy Smith
    23 July 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    Paula: I’m not sure what type of law you practice or who your core group or clients are, but credentials cannot be discounted and are very important to some clients – I wouldn’t suggest eliminating them all together. Why not use those 3-4 paragraphs as an opening to emphasize what you offer your clients and then list your credentials (at least some of them) for those clients who still want to see where you went to law school and what cases you’ve won. I’m in favor of keeping your bio to a page, if at all possible.

  3. Dorothy Rausa
    23 July 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    Paula: I agree with Stacy. I would not eliminate the credentials altogether either. If your bio is formatted to include a few paragraphs, perhaps there is room off to one side to list the credentials in smaller font. For example, include a shaded column to the right that includes education, written opinions, accolades, etc. A bio with 3-4 short paragraphs and a column on the right with smaller font can easily be kept to one page.


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