Law Firm Website Personality

Whether your law firm is composed of one lawyer, twenty or two hundred, your law firm has a unique culture and personality. That personality is reflected in everything from the way the telephone is answered to your firm letterhead to your approach to resolving your clients’ problems. It informs the way employees are treated and the way work gets done. Some firms are more ‘corporate’ and some are more laid back. Some firms take an aggressive approach to advocacy and some lean more toward collaboration.

Whether intentional or not, the personality of your firm defines your clients’ experience with your firm. Your clients come to expect and count on certain things from you.Your clients are going to experience your firm’s personality once they have retained you, so why not show them what to expect by injecting that personality into your law firm website?

By showing your personality rather than creating a cookie-cutter site that merely recites credentials, accomplishments and practice areas, you give clients a preview of who you are and what they can expect when working with you. You differentiate yourself in a crowded marketplace.

Who you are, not just what you do

One of my law firm clients recently decided to feature bio photos depicting the lawyers engaged in their ‘free time’ pursuits. Rather than showing the lawyers in business suits, the photos on each lawyer’s bio page showed them cycling, playing golf, etc. But after he saw the site, one of the partners got nervous and retreated, saying it would be more ‘appropriate’ to feature a business attire photo on the bio page and make the more casual shot smaller and less prominent.

I stepped in to remind my client of the goal of the site and all of the reasons they had decided to do this in the first place, including differentiating themselves, putting a more human face on the firm and its lawyers, and developing connections with clients with similar non-business interests. In short, the site’s personality and the non-business photos would give clients a fuller picture of who they were, not just what they did.

Personality gets people to pay attention, and it gets remembered. I can guarantee that those photos will create a buzz and get people talking. I know the firm will get comments from clients about them.

People want to do business with people. Law is a relationship business. Your law firm website may be the first contact a potential client has with your firm and their first impression of you. Who wants a relationship with someone who is boring, clinical, or talks all about themselves? Nobody. People want relationships with interesting people who care about them. Let that shine through on your site.

Remind clients that lawyers are people, too. Tell the story of why your firm exists and why you work with your clients. And remember  – the one thing your competitors cannot copy is your personality.


  1. Avatar Tyler White says:

    There is some good advice in your article, thanks for posting!

    I see there being two sets of rules for law firms in this realm. One set of rules for big/medium firms with a wide swath of clients and a big marketing budget; and one set for the solo/smalls with a narrower sliver of the market and a small-to-no marketing budget.

    Big firms can afford to try this and they can also afford to do it well. If you look at Axiom’s attorney profiles ), it looks awesome because they are using a great photographer with a twenty thousand dollar lens. If you didn’t have thousands of dollars for a high priced day of shooting, I could see this look not coming off as well. Mid to large firms also have the ability to get really creative with the look on their website because presumably they are a well established firm with a good base of clients already in place. This is a good combination for them, because a potential client can say, “hey this is a well established firm, but it also looks like they have real people working for them.” This balance is not there with new solos like me, where if I tried something far outside the box, the PC might just assume that I was weird, or loved my free time a little too much.

    Solosmalls, in my humble opinion, are much less inclined to get ‘personal’ on their website. I can only speak for myself, but I know the reason why I went with a suit-and-tie look on my bio page is that I can’t afford to potentially alienate myself from future clients with pictures of myself hunting or at the park with my kids (I hate golf). In my mind, (and correct me if I’m wrong) getting people to my website is at least half of the battle so I won’t do anything to turn off a potential client. It’s possible that I am a little too risk averse here, but I feel that as a solo, I have much less room for far out creativity than the big guys.

    But I am open to reeducation on this…

  2. Sam Glover Sam Glover says:

    I think you can strike a balance. For example, my consumer law website, shows some attitude, but also maintains a professional impression overall.

    The point of putting some personality into your website is to differentiate yourself. Give people a reason to stop on your site, instead of clicking over to the next one.

    Clients tell me they like my website. My consumer practice is all about “sticking it to the man,” which is what my clients want, too. When they see my website, it seems to strike a chord. At least that’s what they tell me.

  3. I agree with Sam, that there is a balance that can be achieved. I don’t think you need a big dollar budget to do it right and not make it look cheesy. I paid less than $100 for my professional photo to be done at a studio (from an awesome start up photographer). I hadn’t thought about doing casual shots too, but I don’t think he would have charged me any more to do a quick change of clothes and change to a casual back drop for a photo with a different look. If you take your own camera and have your 10 year old do a photo shoot in your back yard, you will likely look unprofessional and alienate clients. But there are ways to do it cheaply and still look classy, in my opinion.

    Thanks for the post. It served as a good reminder to me to get going on taking some different photos/videos to add to my website and make more of my personality shine through (which I’ve been meaning to do, but just haven’t found the time).


  4. @Tyler I think my analysis would be just the opposite. Large firms already have a brand and can afford to have their attorneys’ bios be mainstream because they are trying to put out one product and want to send a uniform message. Solos and smalls, in contrast, have to sell themselves. If their websites look the same as everyone else’s, how will anyone remember them?

    It’s true there is some risk in sharing some of your personality or interests on your website. If you advertise that you’re a hunter, you may discourage vegans from hiring you. But whom would you more like or expect your clients to be: hunters or vegans? Will the benefit of your clients knowing something about you outweigh the fact that your interests are different than theirs? I don’t advertise my politics because I don’t really care what the politics of my clients are and rarely discuss politics with them. Consider asking some of your existing clients what they think.

    It’s not the $20K camera lens that makes a website great. It’s the concept that you asked the photographer to capture for you. Figure out the message, then figure out how to present it.

    • Aaron Street Aaron Street says:

      I think it depends entirely on your practice area and who you’ve identified as your ideal client. This will help define what kind of lawyer you are—and therefore how your site should look.

      Some practices require a “trusted advisor” lawyer, some require a “bulldog” lawyer, some require a “compassionate guide” lawyer, etc.

      I think you should make your website fit your practice goals as much as your actual personality.

  5. Avatar Todd Murray says:

    I agree with Eric. You’ve got to be yourself and can’t try to be all things to all people. I’ve tried to inject quite a bit of my personality in the bio on my web page ) and my clients consistently tell me that was the reason they chose me. Of course, I’m sure there are prospective clients that are turned off by my more casual approach, but if someone is looking for a straight-laced, buttoned-up lawyer, I’m just not their guy. Be yourself and you’ll attract clients that are a good fit for you.

    But I also agree with Aaron. You have to think about your clientele before deciding how much personality to reveal. I’m not sure I would use the same approach if I represented corporate clients.

  6. Avatar Tyler White says:

    @ Eric-

    fair enough. You may be right, and I may be so new at this that I don’t quite know what clients like yet. But I have yet to come across a solo/small website that showcases the “personality” that Allison is talking about as well as some of the bigger sites that I’ve seen. Does anybody have any good examples of small firms addressing ‘free-time pursuits’ on their website?

  7. Avatar Tyler White says:

    Todd, thanks for sharing your site; it looks good!

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