We have quite a few clients in the process of updating their websites and/or going through a brand overhaul. As many of you know, it is a massive undertaking both from a time and money perspective. But it is also a perfect opportunity to offer clarity to the marketplace on what your firm and lawyers do best.
Plenty of clients are window shopping your websites daily, and studies indicate that the highest traffic to law firm websites is the lawyer biographies. Yet if you look at the hundreds of thousands of law firm website biographies, very few offer clarity on what makes a lawyer stand out from his or her competitors. Lawyers have such a fear of limiting their expertise, but clients tell us time and again that specific expertise (industry, type of business, similar matter, geographic focus) is one of the most important priorities when hiring outside counsel.
I was recently conducting a telephone interview on behalf of a law firm, and the interviewee had looked at the firm’s website in advance of the call. He shared his disappointment with the lack of differentiation in the marketplace and said, “There is nothing compelling. You could swap their name out for any law firm at the top, and they all say the same thing. The bar is so low and the opportunity is so great, yet no law firm is willing to stand out and do something different and be known for something.”
This is not an uncommon message from our interviews. No matter how long a client has worked with the firm, they still know a fraction of the true capabilities of the firm, the specific expertise of the lawyers, the number of offices or what truly makes the firm stand out from the competition. The website biographies are one opportunity to clarify those messages.
Whether formally overhauling your website or simply taking the opportunity to refresh your lawyer biographies annually, put yourself in the client’s shoes. Ask yourself if the biographies make a compelling and easy case for why a client should hire you. Very few clients today want a lawyer that “can try any case” or “can handle any deal” or dabbles in nine practice areas. Clients believe their business, industry, culture and problems are unique and special, and they are looking for lawyers who feel the same and have specific expertise to prove it.