Beware the Seven Deadly Sins of Attorney Bios

Forget flashy advertising, catchy taglines or firm logo Frisbees. The professional biography is the paramount piece in any attorney’s marketing arsenal.

In law, the people are the product, and no other marketing communications vehicle can convey the depth of an attorney’s experience and qualifications. Over the past 12 years, I have worked with more than 800 attorneys and have seen how clients use bios to assess how credible and hireable law firms are. Indeed, more than 80% of in-house counsel use lawyer bios to research new providers, according to the 2016 Canadian Digital Legal Survey.

It’s unfortunate, then, that so many bios stagnate with outdated information and neglect the needs of the end user. Attorneys who want to maximize the effectiveness of their bios – and their ability to connect with prospective clients – should work to avoid the seven deadly sins of lawyer bios:

1. Listing Stale Or Incorrect Information

This is the least forgivable bio offense; if you have outdated information on your bio, you can sell yourself short, appear out-of-touch or mislead your readers. Fortunately, it’s also the easiest to correct. Check your bio at least once a year for simple accuracy by reviewing the following:

  • Title
  • Court admissions
  • Extracurriculars
  • Publications
  • Presentations
  • Awards
  • Firm leadership positions

2. Telling, Not Showing

Consider these two bios:

  • “Lex Luthor is an accomplished litigator who is well-known for his success in jurisdictions across the country.”
  • “Clark Kent has an exceptional track record in litigation nationwide. Accomplishments include a defense verdict for an agribusiness company in Missouri, a $5.6 million verdict for an accident victim in Georgia and the dismissal of a class action for a manufacturer in Utah.”

In the second one, examples enhance credibility and provide evidence to back your claims. Of course, privilege is critical, but share what your client permits and link to articles and decisions. Demonstrate that you are a safe choice.

For the rest of the Deadly Sins – and ways to stay on the path of bio righteousness – check out the rest of my piece in Forbes.

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