Common Attorney Bio Mistakes to Avoid

Common Attorney Bio Mistakes to Avoid

A few weeks ago, I outlined some guidelines for writing an attorney biography that can help you stand out from the competition. I wrote about how your bio should speak to your future clients’ needs instead of your ego and outlined some basic “do’s” regarding style and salesmanship.

This time around, I’ve collected some bad ideas and “don’ts” that I’ve seen in some attorney bios. None of these are worth losing sleep over, but in the quest to present yourself in the best light, make sure you’re not making these simple mistakes.

Don’t be trite.

Have you ever met an attorney who doesn’t “fight for their clients’ rights” or have a “proven track record of results”? These phrases are overused and do nothing to differentiate you from the competition. Coming up with something new to say isn’t easy, but it’s absolutely necessary.

Don’t post your résumé.

Presenting a laundry list of credentials really doesn’t resonate with most prospects. It’s fine to highlight your experience, but club memberships and advisory boards are better suited to your LinkedIn profile than your law firm website. And while we’re on the topic, make sure you’re linking to your other online profiles from within your biography.

Don’t dwell on the past.

Unless you went to an Ivy League school or had a major standout achievement as a student, listing your alma mater as anything more than a footnote is not effective. The truth is, most consumers don’t know which law schools are the “good” ones. It’s important to mention that you do indeed have a degree, but don’t dwell on it or make it your main achievement.

Don’t forget to optimize.

When writing your bio, it’s a good idea to occasionally include terms that people use to search for attorneys. Do this in a way that is natural and doesn’t hurt your readability or relate-ability. Simple steps like calling out your practice areas can make a difference. Something as simple as starting a sentence with, “As a criminal defense attorney…” can help optimize your text while also aligning your skills with your audience’s needs.

So there they are: the do’s and don’ts of writing an attorney biography. Next, take a half hour this week to check the quality of your online bio. And while you’re at it, give your headshot a look as well. Consider both of these a bit of early spring cleaning.

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