Your professional biography is one of the most important pieces of copy you’ll ever write about yourself.

It’s your opportunity to showcase your work, capabilities and areas of expertise, and what makes you stand out from your competitors.

Many clients cite lawyer bios as one of the most important sources of information regarding researching potential outside counsel (your web bio is usually the first Google search result of your name). In addition, lawyer bios are among the most trafficked pages on law firm web sites.

Your bio can serve as an important business development tool if it is well-crafted. Yet within the legal industry, so many bios are still lackluster, outdated, not client-focused and just poorly written.

You should update your bio at least a couple of times a year and ensure it reflects what you currently do and that it focuses on the work you do for clients.

The summer is a great time to take a fresh look at your bio and enhance it. Here are some quick tips on how to create a stronger, more engaging biography.

  1. Use short, succinct sentences and paragraphs – less is actually much more
  2. Use bulleted lists to break up lists of matters/experience but only include the most important representative matters and write about them in client-centric terms
  3. Organize text with subheadings by industry or area – think about what would make the most sense to the reader
  4. Avoid repetition by mixing up sentence structure
  5. Don’t write in legalese and don’t rehash your resume
  6. Cite specific examples with targeted keywords to enhance SEO
  7. Add examples where you did something that was “first of its kind” or “groundbreaking”
  8. Don’t bore readers with overused phrases, similar sentence construction, clichés (i.e. “depth and breadth” or “deep bench”)
  9. Add articles and speaking engagements to boost subject-matter expertise (but don’t go back to the beginning of time)
  10. Be discreet with awards and honors
  11. Showcase community involvement
  12. Always think client-centric and show vs. tell and you will always be on the right path
  13. Update your bio regularly (at least every six months)
  14. Don’t cut and paste your web bio to your LinkedIn profile – you will look like you have no idea how to use social media
  15. Regularly proofread your bio – nothing is worse than spending all this time creating a great bio just to find out that you have typos in it
  16. Use keywords throughout the bio that truly describe what you do for better SEO-ranking purposes.