By Peter Boyd, a Florida attorney who founded PaperStreet. He has helped over 1,500 law firms with their websites, content and marketing.
One essential marketing tool that new and seasoned attorneys should focus on is their biography. Attorney biographies are often a potential client’s first real glimpse into one’s background, educational history and overall expertise in the legal field. So, what should your bio include?
An Attorney Biography Should Always Be Accurate And Interesting
A personal biography is not the time for puffery or setting forth delusions of grandeur. People want to know factual information about the attorney they are considering hiring. Sure, some may reference an attorney’s CV to get information about where they went to school and what they studied. However, the attorney bio can (and should) be used to provide more personal insight into one’s beliefs and passions attained during their studies and practice of the law.
True and accurate does not necessarily mean dull and boring. All too often, bios start with the same cookie-cutter information: what school they attended, what degrees were obtained, what clubs and competitions they took part in and so on. But it is okay to spice things up in your bio while remaining honest. As they say, attorneys are a dime a dozen. The legal field is very crowded. So it’s important to shine bright above all the other dim bulbs.
Lead With An Interesting Fact
Skip the typical “Mr. Brown’s practice focuses on XYZ” and go for something more eye-catching in the beginning. And by all means, avoid using the normal phrases such as “I’m uniquely qualified” and “I’ve handled X number of complex matters.” These phrases can apply to the millions of attorneys out there in private practice.
Start your bio with an interesting scenario or case study instead of the school you attended. When people don’t feel alone in a situation, they are often eager to seek the help they need much quicker than expected. Providing case studies can give potential clients some insight into what you do and how you will be able to help them if they are in a similar situation.
For example, if you are a personal injury lawyer, talk about one of the most interesting cases you’ve had. Cases involving someone with celebrity status, or those with unique fact patterns and strange stories, in general, will always keep a reader interested. Depending on the scenario or situation, your case study might just land you a phone call at the office to inquire further about your services.
Of course, based on the case chosen, you will likely need to remove actual names and exchange them with the typical John or Jane Doe. Still, those going through legal situations, whether it’s their first time or fiftieth, need to feel some sense of camaraderie in their time of need, and a good case study/scenario is an excellent start to building trust.
It’s Not Bragging If It’s True: Include All Relevant Info For Clients To Make Informed Decisions
Okay, you graduated from the top law school in the country with honors and distinctions that outnumber some of the best legal minds in the industry. Certainly, you’re going to put that in your bio (and kudos to you, if that is the case). After all, you worked hard to get to where you are. But, consider this: Did you do all that while raising three small children? Were you studying law while finishing your nursing degree, too? People want to know the real you, so if you have a story to tell that will resonate with the type of clients you’re hoping to attract, share it!
Attorney bios do not have to be so rigid and uptight — save that for the CV. Let people into your personal life a bit. Prospective clients don’t need to know about the intimate details of your life, but if you like to rescue dogs and cats so they’ll have a good home, or you’ve fostered 15 kids over the years because you have a passion for helping, then let that be known. You never know when that will click with a reader, so much so that they’ll continue to want to learn more about you and your interests.
Categories To Include In Your Attorney Biography
By featuring and highlighting the right content you can control how a potential new client or colleague understands your work. While every biography should include contact information, education and a bar admissions list, there are some overlooked categories with great potential:
• Career highlights
• Links to professional social media profiles that you maintain
• Community involvement
• Military experience
• Case studies
• Interesting facts about yourself
• Client stories or testimonials
Make It Worth Reading
All in all, your bio should put you in the best light possible. If you stick to the facts, lead with the interesting and include the relevant categories that highlight your unique career accomplishments, your biography will create an accurate picture of the business you do. Be creative but honest — your hard work will not go unnoticed.