4 Steps to Writing a Bio Page that Converts
Your professional biography is one of the most important pages on your website. But when it comes to lawyer bios, well, most of them are downright boring. With laundry lists of state bar committees, boards, and accolades that our clients probably don’t understand, we can easily trap our readers in bland and lifeless prose.
Keep in mind that prospective clients read your bio with the intention of deciding whether YOU are the attorney for them. That said, don't bore your audience with information they will not understand. At the same time, keep in mind that your clients don’t necessarily care about your favorite brunch spots in town, either.
We previously discussed the three intentions of legal copy: to educate, inform, and persuade. The same three intentions apply to your bio page.
Let’s start with the third prong. You are still trying to persuade your audience that you are the right fit for their legal needs. As to the first two prongs, you are no longer trying to educate and inform your audience on the law: you are educating and informing them on 1) who you are, and 2) how you can uniquely serve them.
In this article, we will walk through the structure of an effective bio page.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Step #1: Tell them what you do.
In layman’s terms, explain what you do. Keep in mind that your clients may not understand the intricacies of “Chapter 11 cases” or “creditors’ rights.” Instead, consider phrases like the following:
Attorney Jones helps businesses navigate the bankruptcy process, from initial filing to reorganization.
Attorney Jones has 10 years of experience helping individuals and business collect money owed to them.
Be sure to break down your practice areas for your audience in a way that saves them from yet another Google search – one that will lead them away from your website and likely to another attorney or firm.
Step #2: Tell them what motivates you.
Rather than plunge into the boring sequence of “Attorney Jones joined Top Law Firm in 2010 and since then has focused her practice on X, Y, and Z,” prepare a captivating and short statement about what you stand for.
Attorney Jones joined the firm in 2013. She concentrates her practice on business litigation and collections.
Attorney Jones was raised by small business owners. Growing up, she helped her parents handle the overwhelming amounts of paperwork and administrative tasks that come with managing small businesses. It was that experience that inspired Attorney Jones to pursue a legal career. She is driven to help business owners like her parents become successful in their pursuits while protecting themselves legally. Since 2013, she has helped small business owners navigate a variety of commercial disputes, from contract breaches to collecting money owed.
Which one is more compelling?
Example 2 shows, rather than tells, the audience what Attorney Jones does – and it does so in a way that makes sense to individuals who do not have a legal background. Perhaps even more importantly, it shows the audience that Attorney Jones is passionate about the work she does. It puts her on her clients' teams, showing them that she understands the challenges they often face, is empathetic, and has the industry knowledge necessary to help them.
TIP: If you have personal or professional experience that is non-legal in nature but nonetheless helpful to your clients, be sure to highlight it in your bio. For instance, if you represent small businesses and you used to run or manage a business, talk about how this uniquely positioned you to advise your clients from a business standpoint. Take a good, long look at your past, and you will likely be surprised at how many experiences and skills you call upon in your legal career.
Step #3: Give them numbers.
It is easy to say that you are “highly skilled and competent” in your practice areas, but once again, don’t tell them: show them. How many motions have you won? How many cases have you tried? How many six-figure settlements have you landed? This is your opportunity to get specific about your achievements.
Are you fresh out of law school? Don’t stress. However, do keep a running list of your noteworthy accomplishments – “feathers in your cap,” so to speak. An easy way to do this is to keep a running tally of significant achievements in a Google document or Word file. Each time you win a motion, obtain a big settlement, receive a glowing review from a client, or win an award, update the list. That way, you can simply pull it up when trying to recall your professional achievements.
Step #4: Share your highlights.
Once you’ve told your audience what you do, shared what motivates you, and provided data on your professional achievements, you can tell them more about yourself. In this section, you are free to add more personal biographical information, but keep in mind your three intentions: to educate and inform with the intention of PERSUADING them to contact you – so in selecting the information to share about yourself, keep this in mind.
I’ve seen numerous website biographies that list favorite restaurants, bars, or weekend activities. While this arguably reveals your humanity to prospective clients, keep in mind that many clients would prefer to know that you will handle their case with care and excellence, not that you brunch at the same spots in town. Think about it: do you care whether the orthopedic surgeon operating on your mother-in-law maintains a vibrant work-life balance?
That said, consider some of these viable “highlight reel” categories:
Awards and recognition. While boasting about your professional accolades may not make you a lot of friends at a cocktail party, you have carte blanche to brag away in a bio page. Don’t forget about your accomplishments while you were still in school! Winning a trial competition, a moot court argument, or being invited to join the Law Review are all accomplishments that command universal respect. Don’t leave these out. Just remember to explain them in a way that makes sense to a non-legal audience.
Community service. Since the law is a service profession at its core, showing that you care deeply about the community will be attractive to clients. Feel free to mention your weekend pro bono work, involvement in a church or civic group, or active leadership in your local bar association.
Place of origin. Particularly if you live in a jurisdiction with a lot of born-and-raised locals, sharing that you, too, are a local will instill trust in people. Similarly, if you live in an area with a lot of transplants from another state or region, revealing your foreignness may attract clients who also hale from those places.
This is by no means a rigid formula. It is intended to provide practical guidance to help you refresh your bio page. If you find the process overwhelming, try starting with Step One, and you can go back and edit later. No matter what you do, never forget your three intentions: to educate, inform, and persuade. And above all, remember that you've accomplished a lot. Don't be afraid to let your audience know!