5 Tips for Writing a Fantastic Lawyer Bio

March 23, 2017

Make no mistake, clients are googling you, which means that they are absolutely checking out your lawyer bio. These 5 tips will show you how to go about writing a fantastic lawyer bio that will put you ahead of the pack.

Most lawyers are natural wordsmiths, jugglers of rhetoric, not to mention ace scrabble players. So, you’d expect them to already have compelling lawyer bios, little Hemingway-style masterpieces that grab your attention and have you calling their office in a fit of excitement. Think again— most lawyer biographies pack no more punch than the fine print on laundry detergent.

Which is a shame, because clients increasingly find their lawyers online and through LinkedIn. The problem isn’t that lawyers are irredeemably dull. (Monty Python’s John Cleese studied law, so did Jerry Springer). And it’s not that they can’t write, (they happily fine tune language all day). It’s that lawyers and clients approach a bio from very different perspectives.

Venn diagram with 'email address and phone number' in the center
Attributed to Matt Homamn

Why the disconnect? Most lawyer bios might impress a rival but they’ll put the rest of us to sleep. The truth is, clients don’t especially care about where you went to school, what associations you pay to be a member of, etc. What they want to know is: how can you help me?

If your bio doesn’t make you stand out, prospective clients will soon be happily scrolling through a competitor’s. How much does an outdated bio (not to mention a clunky firm website) affect the success of your firm? More than you might expect. Nowadays, no one engages a professional service without doing a Google search for red flags. Don’t just aim to blend in. Stand out.

These five tips will help you get started writing a lawyer bio that won’t put your readers to sleep. 

1. Show that you’re a problem solver

This is the big one. Every prospect that is reading your bio is looking for a solution to a specific problem. Any potential referral source is wondering if you’re up to the task. Show them that they can count on you to deliver. Give examples of what you’ve accomplished for previous clients (the more specific the better).

Nothing you write will be more convincing than a fantastic client testimonial. Testimonials provide social validation of your expertise. Disagree? When was the last time you checked Rotten Tomatoes to see if that new spy movie is any good? Or searched on Yelp for the best sushi in town? A good testimonial proves that you provide effective solutions for clients.

2. Pick your battles

Especially if you run a general practice, it can be tempting to claim expertise in every facet of law, in the hopes that something on your bio will resonate with a client. But all this clutter doesn’t make you seem like some sort of super-lawyer, it just fades into a jumble of legalese. Concentrate on the core. Fill in this statement: I routinely provide [blank] with services in [blank]. Tailor your lawyer bio to make a connection with the specific clients you’d most like to work with.

This comes back to a back to a much broader question about strategic positioning. You can’t be all things to all people. But you can be the best to a chosen few.

3. Show that you’re a person, not a robot

A robot holding a flower

While automation is making rapid inroads into law, clients like to work with a real person, not a faceless billing machine.

They’d like to know who you are. I know what you’re thinking: “Now hold on a second, you just said all clients care about is finding a solution.” Exactly. Clients like knowing that you volunteer in the community because it shows that you’re a decent and trustworthy sort.

Even your interests outside of law have a place. Say I’m looking for a good IP lawyer to help protect my software, and I see on your page that you helped build an indie game in your undergrad, now we have something in common. Running marathons shows off your fortitude, acting in a community play shows creativity, playing in a basketball league shows team spirit. What you do outside the offices says something about your ability to do good work.

 4. Please, we beg of you, don’t rehash your resume

Your bio isn’t a resume. It’s an introduction. If your bio is nothing more than a squashed version of your resume you’re about to bore a prospective client to tears. Sure, your CV shows that yes, you went to law school, and yes, you passed the bar, but rehashing it fails to convincingly answer the client’s question: can you help me?

5. Say cheese!

Your head shot could be the most important part of your bio. You could write an ‘about me’ of incomparable wit and beauty, your clients will still be judging you on that 90’s photoshoot.

An outddated lawyer headshot

That isn’t to say you need to look as good as either Amal Clooney (a famous human rights attorney) or her husband George Clooney (well-known for his role in Return of the Killer Tomatoes). But you do need to look like a leading professional. If your firm photos look like they were taken during a high school photo shoot, then you’re going to look like real fuddy-duddies. You owe it to your firm and your own practice to invest in a professional photographer. Yes, it will cost money. But professionally done photography provides one of the best ROI’s.


A bad lawyer bio will cost you clients

This might sound dramatic, but it has to do with what’s called the halo effect. This is “the phenomenon whereby we assume that because people are good at doing A they will be good at doing B”…and the reverse. A lawyer with a clunky bio will seem out of touch, while average bios are all too easy to forget.

The truth is that your lawyer bio is a direct reflection on your expertise. Your prospective clients have legal concerns. Show them that you have what it takes to deliver effective solutions. If you’d like to learn more about how to jump-start your firm’s business development, or you think it may be time to improve your law firm’s website design, the fSquared Marketing team is here to help.

Lynn Fitzpatrick Foley
Fitzpatrick Foley

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