Your Attorney Bio: 5 Common Mistakes We See On Law Firm Websites

by May 9, 2017

Your attorney bio is an important page on your site and a good way to let potential clients know what you’re like and how you can help them.

Some attorney bios we see are dull and unoriginal and don’t do much to connect with web visitors. Here are five common mistakes that we see that can affect how your potential clients perceive you and your law firm.

Mistake #1: A law firm website without an attorney bio

Attorney bios are one of the most visited pages on a law firm website.

If you don’t have one, you may be missing out on a chance to connect with potential clients.

Potential client need a sense of what you do as an attorney. But they want a sense of who you are as a person and what they can expect from you, too.

An attorney bio, written the right way, can accomplish this nicely.

You might have a potential client referred to you who specifically searches for your attorney bio. You might have a potential client who stumbles upon your law firm blog and then searches for your bio to learn more about you.

Either way, if your law firm’s website lacks an attorney bio, it can make your firm feel impersonal and can cause you to miss out on new business for your firm.

Mistake #2: Attorney bios that are a list of facts

Sometimes, we see attorney bios that are just a bulleted list of facts and figures.

These may be facts about the attorney, but they lack the necessary personal element that helps potential clients engage with law firms.

Instead of immediately writing about:

  • Where you went to school
  • Where in your class you graduated
  • The courts and bars you’re admitted to
  • The judge you clerked with
  • Awards/accolades that you’ve received

Think about things your potential client cares about:

  • How much do you care about my case/problem/matter?
  • How enthusiastic are you about what you do?
  • How do I know you have the right kind of experience?
  • Have you helped other people like me?
  • How would your former clients rate you? (A good opportunity to link to your case results and your recommendations.)
  • Are you approachable?
  • Who are you outside of your job as a lawyer?

The more of these questions that you answer, the more comfortable and confident your potential clients can feel when they decide to hire you. There is a time and place to talk about things like where you went to school and your awards, but there’s a strategic way to do that.

To learn about writing a solid attorney bio that engages potential clients, read: 5 Things That Make Better Attorney Bios On Law Firm Websites.

Mistake #3: Attorney bios that only other lawyers understand

After years of study and time spent around others in your profession, it can be hard to step away from the jargon that goes along with your work.

We’ve seen law firm websites with information that other attorneys understand, but that is difficult for an average individual to translate into something meaningful.

We encourage attorneys to write their law firm’s website content in a way that non-lawyers can relate to. While attorneys understand the various terms of art used on a daily basis, a potential client is unlikely to understand what those terms mean. Legalese can be confusing and intimidating for non-lawyers.

Your attorney bio is an important part of engaging clients, so provide context for anything that a non-lawyer might not recognize.

For example, there are lots of award and accolades for attorneys. If you’re a Top 100 Trial Lawyer, other attorneys might understand the significance of this. But to a non-lawyer, it may not mean much.

If you received something meaningful, give it some context: “I received this award because I love helping my clients and it shows in front of juries.”

Or, as another example: if you’re AV rated, or have a perfect 10/10 on Avvo, what does that mean?

Take a close look at your attorney bio content and ask yourself:

If I were a non-attorney, would I understand what this means, or why it’s important?

Mistake #4: Attorney bios that lack a consistent voice

We often get questions about what point of view, or voice, should be featured on law firm websites.

The three voices that an attorney generally decides between are:

  • First-person (I, me, we, us, our)
  • Second-person (you/yours)
  • Third-person (He/him/his/it)

The reason to choose a particular voice should be strategic.

A mistake we sometimes see is an attorney bio with an inconsistent voice. One way this happens is when attorneys switch between first person and third person in their attorney bios. An attorney bio might feature something like:

“We provide aggressive criminal defense.”

Two paragraphs down, a potential client might see:

“Attorney John Smith has received numerous awards as a result of his work.”

Does this law firm have more than one attorney, or just one attorney?

Is John Smith the only attorney who has received awards?

Suddenly, things become confusing. And, when potential clients are confused by something, their first line of defense on the internet is to leave and go elsewhere.

Where general law firm website content is concerned, we’ve seen other mistakes, like switching between first person singular and first person plural (I/we) when it may not be appropriate. To learn more about using the right voice, read: Which Point Of View Should Attorneys Use On Law Firm Websites?

Mistake #5: Attorney bios that make you sound unapproachable

Often, a potential client will see your law firm’s website and your attorney bio before they ever meet you face-to-face. You may be extremely friendly and easy to talk to in person. But if your attorney bio sends the wrong message, your potential clients may find that you sound unapproachable.

It can be difficult to write about yourself. What makes you unique? How do you strike the balance between sounding boring and being egotistical? Writing about yourself can be challenging.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself that can help you sound more approachable to potential clients:

  • How would your friends and family members describe you?
  • What attributes do you have that they appreciate about you?
  • What do you like to do outside the practice of law?
  • Can clients expect you to return their phone calls? (What’s your communication policy?)
  • What made you become a lawyer? (Talk about your journey to the law.)
  • Do you do volunteer work? Do you belong to any organizations?

Do you need help building a better law firm website?

Knowing what works, what to do and how to do it well is much of the battle in online legal marketing. If you want to learn how to engage potential clients online, check out our practice area-specific webinar series for attorneys to learn how to market your practice area online.

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