Writing What Clients Want to Read: Three Tips for Writing a Great Attorney Bio
With 74 percent of clients visiting a law firm website before taking legal action, it’s critical that your website is a fine-tuned marketing machine. Your biography is one of the first places clients look for information about you, and since you have complete control over it, it’s one of the most useful tools you have. Unfortunately, biographies are often lengthy, dry and unhelpful. So what’s the best way to write a bio? The key is writing in a relatable, easily understood style.
Tell a story
Every attorney bio has the same obligatory facts: law school, practice areas, list of representative clients and cases. And while those facts should be in your bio somewhere, you don’t need to follow the same template as every other firm website. Your clients want to know that they’re hiring a fully trained and highly qualified legal expert, but they also want to know that they’re hiring a real person they can confide in and trust.
Think of your career as a story. Go beyond just listing what you’ve done—include why those accomplishments were meaningful, both personally and professionally. Why did you decide to become a lawyer? What kinds of clients do you love to represent? What causes are you passionate about? These details might seem superfluous, but they can be the deciding factor when a client chooses to hire you.
Write with your audience in mind
You’re great at drafting detailed pleadings, memos and letters—but that style of writing doesn’t cut it for a website bio. Think like a blogger: you want your bio to be short, skimmable and easy to read. Those technical terms you use to describe your credentials and case history? Depending on your practice area, potential clients might not know what they mean. Case results, industry honors and professional groups don’t mean much to your clients if you don’t convey their significance.
Avoid jargon and use subheads, bullets and boxes to break up blocks of text. When you’re rereading your work, ask yourself: if I had no legal experience, would I understand this? More importantly, would I want to read this? It can also be helpful to ask someone else to review your bio for clarity.
Don’t bury your lead
For journalists, the most critical part of any story is the lead: the first sentence or two that summarizes the story’s main point. The idea is that the lead will draw readers in, and even if they don’t read the whole story, they’ll still get a sense of what it’s about. Putting secondary details in the first paragraph, forcing the reader to dig through the story to get to the heart of it, is a classic journalism mistake known as “burying the lead.”
You can apply this principle to your own bio. Start with your career “lead”: the key services, experiences, benefits or qualities you offer that no other attorney can. Potential clients are on your website because they have a legal problem, and they want to know ASAP whether or not you have the capability to solve it. They’re most likely comparing a few different firms and attorneys, so it’s essential that you lay out what makes you the best choice quickly and clearly.