Most lawyers are bright, passionate, interesting, engaged and successful. But when it comes to their bios, we tend to see them described in ways that are dull, wordy and unremarkable. The reason? Lawyers practice law, not bio writing. So when their firms tell them that they need to write a bio, many of the finer points of their practices and personalities get lost. In the event that a professional writer is brought in for this task, the success of a bio depends on the writer’s ability to elicit the information needed to construct a strong bio – brilliant content in; brilliant bio out.
Since bios are the most visited pages on any firm’s website, getting up to speed on how to write a bio like a pro is a worthwhile time investment.
Almost all lawyer bios focus on what a lawyer does, the facts of a technical practice, the list of skills, the professional context, the admissions, speeches and articles. Very few focus on the how and why. There is precious little information on how a lawyer seeks to advocate a client’s interests, establish trust and demonstrate competence. Even less often, we’ll read about why a lawyer pursues these clients or the type of law practice, or the benefits that clients derive from being represented.
There are methods to revive lawyer bios. We’ve written several posts on how this can be accomplished, which you can read here and here. But below are six steps every lawyer can take to contribute to a great bio, whether or not you’re acting as the writer or helping a writer create a great product:
- Talk about the client “problems” you solve: the situations and issues that your skills address. You know the legal matters that keep your clients awake at night, so your bio should discuss the ones you help resolve. Be specific.
- Tell your readers why your skills are important to them, the value that your clients get from hiring you. There are tangible benefits, naturally, but the emotional ones are also worthy.
- Show how you work, what your process and involvement bring to a client relationship. Describe what a client will experience working with you and actions that demonstrate your commitment and concern. Give a “for instance.”
- Identify prior engagements (keeping all the required confidentialities) that show the above elements.
- Consider video to boost engagement. If you can express in a few minutes the passion, purpose and poise that you bring to client work, it can break the ice and give someone a reason to move from your bio to face-to-face contact.
- Propose a call to action. Generally, this would involve giving away some knowledge, but, if you’re making speeches or writing articles or blogs, this is already part of your marketing. Invite readers to “email for most recent presentation on…” or “visit the Articles page for a copy of…”. Give readers a way to respond to what they see in your bio.
Online bios, whether in a firm’s main website property, in an online directory, blog sidebar or social channel such as LinkedIn.com, don’t have to be dry and dull. With just a little thought (and, possibly, the help of a professional consultant), you can stand out from the crowd with a lively and compelling narrative of what you love about your work, what you love about your clients and what your clients love about you. When your readers come to your bio to confirm your competence, they will find something memorable that has the best chance of getting you a meeting where you can demonstrate those elements in person.