There are a lot of considerations to make when writing your law firm website content. You’ll have to decide how often you’ll write and publish new content, how long each piece of content will be, and what topics you’ll write about.
But here’s another question: what point of view do you write from?
The three point-of-view choices that an attorney generally decides between are:
- First-person (I, me, we, us, our)
- Second-person (you/yours)
- Third-person (He/him/his/it)
Here are some ways to decide where you might use a particular perspective on your law firm website or blog.
Reasons for attorneys to use first-person perspective
Potential clients can connect with a first-person perspective. When you write from your personal perspective, it can provide a sense of your personality and character while speaking to your expertise and authority. Likeability and perceived authority are factors people consider when making important decisions.
You may want to use first-person perspective on pages such as: about your firm, your attorney bio(s), and your case results, and others.
Let’s use an attorney bio page as an example of first-person perspective.
A page like this one can be written in first-person or third-person. But, it’s important to be sure that your pages draw the connection between yourself and your potential client.
A good attorney bio can include information about your education, formative years, your legal career and who you’ve helped, among other topics. Be sure that you discuss what you’ve done in the context of what you can do for the potential client. Many lawyers may consider themselves “experienced” and “client-focused,” but that doesn’t make them unique. A first-person narrative about your path to the law — and what you can do for potential clients — can provide potential clients with a sense of your subject matter expertise and what makes you the right choice for their needs.
If you’re a solo practitioner, you’re likely to write in first-person (“I provide aggressive criminal defense…”) or third-person (“Attorney John Smith provides aggressive criminal defense.”) You may want to avoid the use of the first-person plural, “we,” unless you have a support staff that is likely to work with potential clients or you expect to add attorneys to your firm in the future.
When a potential client discovers that “we” is actually a single attorney, they may feel uneasy about the lack of transparency.
In a similar way, be cautious about your use of the first-person singular. If you write something to the effect of, “I will take care of you,” but your clients are likely to interact only with your support staff, it can create client expectation management problems.
Reasons to use second-person perspective on law firm websites
You often see novels written in first-person or third-person, but not so much in the second-person point of view. That’s because the second-person point of view is difficult to do well in a novel. But you’re not writing a novel — you’re trying to reach and connect with your potential clients. The second-person perspective allows you to speak to them personally and can be a great choice for parts of your substantive content or blog posts.
The second-person POV may have a number of benefits for you.
It’s good for instructing and informing in a conversational manner, and it can put you in a position of authority while staying approachable — an important factor for a lot of clients who may feel intimidated by the law, seeking an attorney, or their problem. It’s a point of view that helps them not only connect with what you’re writing, but also participate in it.
There are some pages that may benefit from a second-person approach, particularly because those pages pertain to the potential client. Practice area pages, detailed law pages, local pages, and Q&A pages are a good fit for a second-person POV. That choice can help a potential client learn more about their case or problem while showing a potential client that you understand what their experience is like. Blog posts are another area in which you may want to use a second-person perspective.
Reasons to use third-person perspective on law firm websites
While the first-person POV can sound more personal, the third-person POV can sound more objective or serious. Choosing to talk about yourself or your firm in the first-person or third-person is not a matter of right or wrong, but a matter of strategy. For example, someone who handles elder law may want to write in the first person to convey their sensitivity to an adult child who needs to create or execute estate planning documents for an elderly parent. A criminal defense attorney could write about themselves in the first-person to make themselves more approachable to a potential client who is scared or embarrassed. But, an attorney could also choose a third-person perspective to stress their qualifications or professional achievements in a way that can sound more objective than a first-person approach.
In some areas of your substantive content or blog posts, a third-person may not necessarily be the best choice because it can seem detached. A potential client needs to know that you care about them and their problem. They may not realize that they need an attorney or how serious their problem is. Or, they may realize how serious their problem is but may not feel that they can engage with your content. Using another perspective, such as second-person, can help draw a reader into your content.
For example, discussing the possible penalties for a first-time DUI in third-person may not be as compelling as a second-person take on the same subject.
While a third-person perspective can sound more objective, a second-person perspective draws the reader into the action and also has the benefit of letting you engage on a personal level. As the saying goes, a potential client may not “care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Whichever point of view you choose, be strategic in those choices. Consider not only what you’re writing, but how the perspective you write in can affect your potential clients when they visit your law firm’s website.