Free: 10 Things the Best Law-Firm Website Designs Have in Common
For seven years, Lawyerist has published an annual list of the best law firm websites. Now, you can find out what they have in common.
An attorney profile is so much more important than listing where you went to law school (whether or not you include the date of graduation), your bar association memberships, and your areas of practice.
Of course that stuff matters.
But, in my opinion, even though the attorney profile has been around since the first lawyer website, it remains a largely untapped goldmine.
By following three steps to a better attorney profile, you’ll make it do what it’s really capable of: turning potential clients into paying clients.
Step 1: Hook ‘Em with the Emotional Plea
As an advertising copywriter, I’ve come to recognize a certain skill that many trial lawyers also recognize and cherish.
It’s the emotional plea. It’s the drama. It’s what keeps you turning pages. Trial lawyers know that you might convince a jury based on reason, but you’ll first hook ‘em—and possibly close the deal with a favorable verdict—through the emotional plea.
Here’s the opening paragraph from defense lawyer Scott Greenfield’s attorney profile:
For almost 30 years, Scott Greenfield has represented clients charged with crimes or the targets of investigations in state and federal courts across the United States. Over that time, many have decided that it’s too hard or too expensive to fight, and have chosen to start out with the goal of losing as gracefully as possible. Anyone whose goal at the outset is to lose should find another lawyer.
Greenfield’s opener includes the same facts in every attorney profile (years of experience and areas of practice) but, most importantly, addresses what’s at stake for his potential clients: the prospect of being convicted of a crime. At the same time, it tells a little something about who he is as a lawyer and a person.
It’s simple. People respond to stories about characters, not lists of facts. When you tell a good story, it’s so much more effective.
Step 2: Be Genuine, Not Generic
You could do worse if you followed just this one step. Here’s the difference between generic and genuine:
- I am prompt, responsive, and care about my clients, so I always make sure to return phone calls within one (1) business day.
(No, you probably don’t. It’s not that you don’t want to, it’s that you’re busy.)
- I’m really busy. If I tried to return every single phone call the same day (or even the next day), that’s all I’d have time to do, and I won’t get the important things done on your case. In many circumstances, I will in fact return your call the same day, but just like you, I care most about results. So it’s important for you to know that even if you haven’t heard from me in a few days, it’s because I have no other choice but to prioritize.
This is a stark example. You might not lay it out exactly like this. But it illustrates my point. A generic attorney profile over-promises, setting you up to under-deliver. Being genuine, on the other hand, allows you to turn weakness into strength.
Step 3: Embrace Your Inner Minimalist
The worst thing you can do is make readers’ eyes glaze over.
How does a potential client know what to pay attention to if you haven’t spelled it out for them? If there’s a mass of content on the page and not one line or paragraph calls attention to itself more than any other?
So pick and choose the story you want to tell. And choose carefully. One bar association won’t “speak” on an emotional level any more than another, but a short story about why you were admitted to a prestigious invite-only bar association might.
- Start out with a bang, the story, the emotional plea, what “speaks” to your potential clients and what they’re facing.
- Be genuine to overcome weakness and set yourself apart as a real human being.
- Include only the most important facts about yourself—not every last thing—and work them casually into your story.
Try this yourself and see whether or not it works. You probably won’t even notice if it does. You’ll be too busy signing clients and practicing law. Just don’t tell me it’s not far and away better than a lot of crappy law firm Internet marketing. The fact is that this attorney profile is more likely to turn potential clients into paying clients.
I’ll do the unthinkable and make an outrageous emotional advertising claim:
“I guarantee it.”