I’ve worked at and with law firms for 20 years now, and I do my best to guide firms and lawyers in the right direction when it comes to their marketing and business development efforts, but I see some of them make the same mistakes over and over.

Some of these faux pas are pretty public facing and can be easily corrected. Others are due to changing times and technology.

Here’s a list of some of the things I wish law firms wouldn’t do. Please add yours to the comments!

  1. Capitalizing the word “Firm” – please just don’t. Not even internally. Ever. It’s very old fashioned.
  2. Capitalizing “Partner” or “Associate” or any other title. Again, it’s really outdated and out of touch to do so.
  3. So is using prefixes and surnames in bios –  especially on LinkedIn profiles. No one should be referring to themselves as Mr., Ms. or Mrs. anymore. It doesn’t make you sound approachable – in fact it does the opposite. If anything we’ve should so much of the formality during the last two years. Clients don’t want to hire someone to whom they have to address formally.
  4. Putting double or triple spaces (gasp) between sentences in marketing copy or emails. Please just don’t. Even if you were taught that in law school.
  5. Defining unnecessary terms (DUT) – like what I just did here. This is just unnecessary and it almost seems as if you’re talking down to your audience.
  6. UTMA – using too many acronyms – see how annoying it can be? If someone needs a glossary to decipher your content, they’ll simply move on.
  7. Not having an ADA compliant website – you are setting yourself up for a potential lawsuit today. It’s the right thing to do and it makes your content more accessible to others.
  8. Also, your website must be mobile friendly and responsive. I keep seeing websites that are not iPhone/android friendly, and I’m shocked as so many people are using their mobile devices to view the web. Don’t let your website become a crisis situation – it’s an important investment in your brand.
  9. Using unnecessary punctuation is just, well, unnecessary.
  10. Having outdated lawyer bio photos on your website, mismatched bio photos (meaning that some of them were taken by different photographers at different times or some of them were selfies taken during the pandemic). There is no time like the present to get those photos retaken. In addition, retake photos where lawyers aren’t smiling. Remember these photos are the first impression that many people have a of a particular lawyer when their name is given to a referral. A smile and a professional quality photo goes a long way.
  11. Listing your diversity and/or women’s initiatives committees on your website but having no associates in those groups represented in them (c’mon).
  12. Posting self-congratulatory boastful posts on social media that start with “I’m honored and humbled to be named to Super Lawyers/Chambers/Best Lawyers etc…”

Here’s the thing – you sound neither honored or humbled when you post that kind of content on social media.

Instead, write about the team that helped you get the deal done or why you became a lawyer or why you love working at your firm. You will stand out in a good way in a sea of sameness.

I’d love to hear what you wish law firms wouldn’t do too. There’s always room to improve! And always remember to be client-centric.