I’ve spent a good portion of my working life working alongside lawyers, either as support staff, or covering their cases in courtrooms as a journalist, or now in my capacity as a writer for Postali. I’ve enjoyed working with lawyers — and having good friends who are lawyers — because lawyers are smart, interesting, and passionate people. However, from many of the lawyer bios I see on the web, you’d think that many lawyers are nothing more than their resumés — which can make for pretty dull reads.
As I alluded to in a previous blog post, a good website should be engaging to readers, particularly when the website is being used to attract potential clients. It’s important to get readers to visit your site, but it’s interesting and engaging information that keeps them there and hopefully gets them to pick up the phone and call you. Data shows that a significant portion of visitors to a lawyer’s website look at the lawyer’s bio or profile, so it’s important to make sure that your bio tells your story in a way that allows that potential client to feel a connection to you.
Lawyer bios should be concise, but also should give a potential client the information they need to decide that they want to contact you for a consultation. Your bio should speak to your audience and the kind of people who would be looking for a lawyer who specializes in your area of practice. If you practice bankruptcy law, your audience most likely is going to be working class or middle class and your bio should give them something to connect with in clear, conversational language that avoids legal jargon.
Your bio shouldn’t read like a resume with nothing but a bullet point list of your education, bar memberships, and speaking engagements. Those things are important in showing that you’re qualified to practice, but they should fit into an overall narrative that tells the story of who you are, how you approach your practice, and why you’re the right person to handle that client’s case.
Toward that goal of telling your story, it’s useful to show something about you as a human being. Are you a sports fan? Do you love superhero movies? Are you obsessed with finding the perfect fishing spot? Do you live for John Grisham novels? Many lawyers are reluctant to provide any kind of personal information about themselves in their bio, but these kinds of small personal details can help a potential client connect to you on a human level — and help you stand out from the numerous other lawyers clamoring for that person’s business. Providing personal information to flesh you out as a person also can help offset what might look like a lack of experience if you’re relatively new to practice.
My job as a writer is to tease out those details and then use them to weave your narrative. It might seem like being a Marvel movie fan is irrelevant to your law practice, but a fondness for Captain America could show a potential client that you care about justice — and will fight to make sure they get that in a courtroom. People who are looking for legal help tend to be feeling some level of stress and anxiety, and showing them your human face can help set them at ease when they’re considering coming to you for help.