When browsing a law firm’s website, a prospective client’s main point of interest is often the attorney’s bio. In fact, law firm bio pages are among the most viewed pages of a law firm web site. It serves as a virtual handshake and provides a glimpse into both a lawyer’s professional journey and who they are as a person and practitioner.
An effective bio not only informs but also builds trust. Whether you’re an associate or have decades of experience, your bio should reflect your strengths, uniqueness, passion for what you do and dedication to your profession.
Yet some bios are dreadful. Some are boring. Some sound like everyone else. And you can and should do better.
Here’s how to create a stronger lawyer bios (and a strategy for how to do it!).
Why Your Attorney Bio Matters
- Be Concise and Compelling: With the average online attention span getting shorter, your bio needs to engage your audience from the start. Research suggests you have less than 10 seconds to grab a reader’s attention. Aim for clarity and brevity, and short paragraphs in your bio. Also don’t be afraid of white space! In fact, long, dense paragraphs are even scarier than white space. Break up your experience with subheadings organized by practice area or industry, so the reader can find relevant information about your expertise quickly.
- Put Yourself in Your Clients Shoes: When crafting your bio, it’s crucial to adopt the perspective of your potential clients. Putting yourself in their shoes allows you to understand their concerns, needs and questions when seeking legal representation. Clients are not just looking for a list of achievements or accolades; they’re searching for someone who understands their situation, has relevant experience and can effectively represent them. Ensure your bio does all three of these.
- Highlight Your Strengths: It’s essential to underscore your expertise and accomplishments without boasting. If you have a decade or more of experience, highlght it. However, if you’re relatively new to the profession, shine a light on your educational accolades, impactful cases and other notable achievements.
- Infuse Personal Touches: While professional accolades can set you apart, personal anecdotes can make you relatable and memorable. Sharing why you pursued law, your core beliefs or any transformative experiences (without getting too personal) can provide depth to your profile and bridge the emotional gap with potential clients. A great way to do this is to include a quote about your approach to practicing law or client service.
Best Practices for a Standout Bio
- Spotlight Significant Accomplishments: Showcase board certifications, pro bono organizations, memberships to elite law societies, published works and the jurisdictions in which you’re licensed.
- Embrace Authenticity: Humanize your bio. Share experiences that shaped your career, your passion for law or a personal story that showcases your values.
- Engage Visually: Ensure your headshot is recent and is one in which you are smiling and look approachable. Consider including a short video about your approach to client service or practicing law. This multimedia touch can elevate your profile and make it more engaging.
Here are questions you can ask your lawyers that can help you craft the narrative of a strong bio.
- What made you to decide to practice law?
- What types of matters you are most passionate about?
- What issues are keeping your clients up at night?
- What has been the key to your success?
- What do you enjoy most about what you do?
- And most importantly: What are your greatest strengths as an attorney?
The Importance of a Strong Web Site Bio Headshot
A high-quality, recent headshot plays an invaluable role in your attorney bio, serving as an initial point of connection between you and potential clients. First impressions matter immensely, especially in the digital age where clients may be browsing through multiple attorney profiles in search of representation. Your headshot acts as a visual introduction, humanizing the text and credentials that accompany it.
There are a few reasons why having a good headshot is important.
- Building Trust: A professional, up-to-date photo can instill confidence. If clients see a grainy, outdated or low-quality image, they might question the professionalism and currentness of your practice.
- Relatability: A smile and an approachable demeanor in your photo can make potential clients feel more at ease, increasing the likelihood they’ll reach out. It subtly communicates that while you take your profession seriously, you are also personable and understanding.
- Recognition: If you attend networking events, conferences or other public engagements, a recent headshot ensures that people will recognize you from your online presence, facilitating real-world connections.
- Setting the Tone: The style of your headshot, from attire to backdrop, can convey the culture and ethos of your practice. Whether you wish to portray traditional professionalism, modern innovation or compassionate counsel, your photo can set the tone before a word is read.
- Consistency Across Platforms: If you’re active on professional networking sites, social media or have publications, having a consistent headshot helps in creating a cohesive brand image, making you instantly recognizable no matter where clients might come across your profile.
Here are my tips for creating a strong, engaging bio
- Use short, succinct sentences and paragraphs
- Use bulleted lists to break up long lists of matters/experience
- Use subheds by sector/industry to organize text
- Don’t write in legalese
- Don’t rehash your resume
- Use client names and cite specific examples with keywords
- Vary sentence and paragraph structure – ensure variety
- Add any examples where you did something that was “first of its kind” or “groundbreaking”
- Don’t bore readers with overused phrases, similar sentence construction, cliches (i.e. “depth and breadth,” “deep bench”)
- Don’t use words such as “expert” or “specialist”
- Include only the most important representative matters and write about them in a way that will resonate with your client
- Write with your client in mind – speak in language they understand and don’t write in legalese.
- Turn prior work experience into a benefit. The key to including prior experience is whether it is relevant to clients.
- Add articles and speaking engagements but not too many. Clients look at these items to determine your subject-matter expertise.
- Be discreet with awards and honors and don’t start with them.
And finally, showcase that you are a human being – not just a lawyer. Clients care if you are engaged in your community, work with nonprofits or have unique non-lawyering skills. Shared interests can be a powerful factor in building potential relationships. Your bio can convey potential points of connection. Find a way to include these.
- Make it Concise: In the digital age, brevity is crucial. A short and impactful bio can be more effective than a lengthy one.
- Highlight Strengths, Not Just Years: Your bio should emphasize your achievements, skills and significant cases, rather than just years of experience.
- Be Authentic: A blend of professional milestones and personal anecdotes can make your bio resonate more deeply with prospective clients.
In the competitive landscape of law, your bio is an invaluable tool. Craft it thoughtfully, and it could be the difference between a potential client calling your office or moving on to the next attorney with similar skills and experience as you.
Reach out to me for help with crafting a bio strategy for your law firm.