Bios That Mean Business
It’s probably fair to say that most lawyer bios are not the scintillating stuff of best-sellers or such hot reads that they’re in danger of setting the world on fire. Most are so boring they’ll put you to sleep.
While your bio is about you, it must appeal to people you want to attract. After all, the point of having a bio is to entice someone to be in touch.
Having drafted more bios than I care to count, here are 10 quick tips to help you craft a bio that means business.
- Write for your target client audience and tell a story of how what you do benefits those with whom you work.
- Tell your story with colour and let your personality shine. If possible, include a line of commentary about your life outside of your practice. For example, the most memorable and effective bio I ever read was of a corporate lawyer who was known for animal husbandry and making apple pies, but didn’t do both at the same time unless he washed his hands between tasks.
- Keep it short (150-words maximum) and use a conversational tone. Better yet, write like you speak.
- Include examples of representative client work, which act as proof that you do what you say you do. While you don’t need to name names, you should certainly mention each client’s industry.
- Include a recent colour photo. Your graduation picture – no matter how flattering – won’t do.
- Bios are not resumes. Clients don’t care about your career path; they care about what you can do for them.
- Verbosity, puffery and legal jargon are alienating so don’t bother.
- Including a kudo is okay, but only if it’s at the level of a Nobel Prize. Nobody – not even your mother – cares that you won a medal in Moot court.
- Education should appear only as a footnote. There’s an expectation that if you’re a lawyer, you went to law school. Maybe where you studied matters to those to whom these things matter, but maybe not.
- Including Year of Call is risky. While it can show that you’re senior enough to know your way around the legal world, it can work against you in terms of ageism and trigger assumptions that your fees will be beyond a prospective client’s budget.
Most lawyers take their bio very personally. Rightfully so, since this form of self-marketing provides some degree of control over personal profile and public perception.
Heather Suttie is a legal marketing and business development consultant. She works with a range of law firms and legal service providers — Global to Solo, BigLaw to NewLaw. Reach her at +1.416.964.9607 or www.heathersuttie.ca.