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On law firm websites, the attorney profile pages are often among the highest-trafficked pages, second only to the home page. Even so, too many attorneys neglect this page or leave it looking like a barebones résumé. Justia President Stacy Stern explains why it’s important to have a robust attorney profile page, and she describes how to create one or beef up what you currently have, regardless of where you are in your career.
I look at a lot of law firm websites, and a remarkable number of them neglect a critical component: the attorney profile pages. On some websites, the attorney profiles are barebones résumés, and occasionally they lack attorney profiles altogether. Failing to develop a strong attorney profile page is a big mistake. In this article, I’ll explain why it’s so important to have a robust attorney profile page, and I’ll also describe how to create one even if you are a new attorney with little professional experience.
Why Should You Have A Strong Attorney Profile
Attorney profiles are usually among the highest-trafficked pages on law firm websites, second only to the home page. When potential clients go to a law firm website, they want to learn about the lawyer or lawyers who might represent them. Prospective clients are interested in such things as educational background, professional experience, credentials or certifications, philosophy, as well as personal information. Moreover, if someone is searching an attorney’s name, if the profile page is well developed, it has a better chance of ranking well on the search engines, which gives you more control over the image you present online.
Imagine referring a lawyer to a friend or colleague, only to find that the lawyer’s website does not have any information about her. Everyone looks everyone else up online nowadays. Would you feel comfortable referring a lawyer if their site lacks an attorney profile?
If someone is searching your name online, would you prefer they go to your website where you can fully position your brand or to some other site online that contains your name?
Without a strong attorney profile page you could be missing out on potential clients contacting you or even on referrals from others. The attorney profile page gives you a place to shine, connect with prospective clients, and build your personal brand.
What to Include on Your Attorney Profile Page
Many attorneys tell me they don’t want to write the page because they don’t want to sound like they are bragging. Newer attorneys are often hesitant to write about themselves because are worried they have nothing to write about. There are plenty of topics you can cover on an attorney profile page even if you are a newer attorney.
We recommend including a professional photo on your profile page, similar to, or the same photo you would use for LinkedIn. This is one way to humanize yourself. Potential clients are interested to see that you look professional, so show them your most professional look. You might also post a video of yourself (giving a lecture or an interview, or even casually introducing yourself in a professional manner) so they can hear you sounding professional too.
Even a new lawyer can write about his or her background. If you grew up or went to school in the city where you practice you can talk about your connections to the city. If law is a second career you can discuss how your first career relates to what you are doing now. Almost every lawyer can explain what motivated them to go to law school and get into practice and why they are doing what they are doing now.
Prospective clients are interested in your level of experience, so sharing information about your experience and track record can help build confidence. This is an area attorneys with great experience should draw attention. If you don’t have much experience you can still talk about what type of matters you handle and why you have chosen to focus on these areas of law. Talent, enthusiasm and passion for your work can often offset a lack of experience. John Wooden, an American basketball coaching legend, used to say, “I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent.” So don’t be discouraged if you are just starting out, and highlight your assets in your profile.
Your attorney profile page gives you a chance to share your philosophy about working with clients, other lawyers, technology, etc., and differentiate yourself from other firms. Whether you identify as a “zealous advocate” or provide “compassionate counsel,” your philosophy can affect a prospective client’s first impression of you.
Including personal information such as interests, hobbies, community service, etc., is another way to humanize yourself and offer other levels on which prospective clients can connect with you.
Include information on your attorney profile page that will help potential clients decide to engage your services such as honors, awards, presentations, and media coverage.
There are many possible formats for effective attorney profiles. You might start with a narrative description of yourself and your philosophy and then include some bulleted lists with your educational background and practice areas. A substantive narrative component is important to include, as well. If you are having trouble writing a narrative about yourself, you could try an interview format where you are answering questions about yourself and your practice.
Since your attorney profile page on your law firm website is so important, it’s worth investing some time to develop a page to build confidence with clients and prospective clients. Even if you lack years of legal experience, there are plenty of subjects to cover and ways to differentiate yourself. Focus on your strengths to build a good impression while always following the ethics rules of your jurisdiction in your marketing.