If your law firm has a website, it probably also has an “About” page or a “Firm Overview” page. With the increasing popularity of social media, you may have similar pages sprinkled around the web: a LinkedIn Company Profile, a Facebook Business Page, a Google+ page, etc.
Just like individual lawyer bio pages, these “About” pages are popular destinations for people seeking more information about your firm online. A good lawyer biography not only tells your individual story and highlights your experience, but it addresses the specific questions visitors have about you. The same is true for your law firm’s About page.
About Page Purpose
Other sections of your law firm website have a specific purpose: the Contact page provides your address, phone number and other methods available to contact the firm and perhaps directions to your office. The individual Practice Area pages describe the services you provide to clients and the problems you solve for them. The About or Firm Overview page should have a purpose, too, but too many law firms seem to get lost when it comes to this page.
The About page or Firm Overview is often where visitors will go first to determine whether they’re in the right place – is this the kind of firm they’re looking for? Are these the kind of people they want to work with?
The About or Firm Overview page should address:
- Who you are: the firm’s culture, philosophy and mission
- How you got where you are: your firm’s story
- What you do now, for whom and why: who your clients are and how you help them
- Where you are going: what you anticipate for the future (particularly with reference to your clients)
In short, your About page is a snapshot of your firm.
Common About Page Blunders
Some law firms simply state the number of years the firm has been in existence and then list their practice areas. Others are satisfied with an About page filled with platitudes that, even if they are true, have little value, say nothing special about the law firm and fail to give guidance to potential clients or referral sources. Still others combine the number of years they’ve been in practice to make it seem like the firm has lots of experience.
While experience is nice, this kind of fluff isn’t fooling anyone. It sounds like you’re trying too hard to prove something. And when you try too hard, it can leave potential clients with the opposite impression; maybe if you have to try this hard to prove you’re worth hiring, you really aren’t worth it.
Some examples taken from real law firm About pages (names have been changed) demonstrate typical law firm About page language:
At Smith and Jones, we have over 50 years of combined bankruptcy experience. When you work with a lawyer at Smith and Jones, you have the benefit of our years of experience and our extensive resources, all at your disposal as you face these trying times.
Doesn’t every client get the benefit of the law firm’s experience? Aren’t any law firm’s resources always at the disposal of their clients?
By continually honing our skills and staying abreast of the ever-evolving state of personal injury and insurance laws, our attorneys maintain a competitive edge. Our skills are evident in how we strategize our cases and the positive results we obtain for our clients.
All lawyers are required to stay abreast of the law in their practice areas. This shouldn’t be a point of differentiation. It doesn’t give the potential client any reason to hire your firm over your competition.
For over a century, the multi-talented attorneys at BigLaw firm have dedicated themselves to providing the best in legal representation and counseling. BigLaw firm’s attorneys take pride in their professional abilities, dedication, and attention to their clients’ interests.
Wow! These lawyers are multi-talented! That will certainly make clients flock to their door, won’t it? And the firm is actually dedicated to their clients and want to do their best. What law firm doesn’t say that? Who would want to work with a firm that didn’t provide that? Does this paragraph say anything special about the firm?
The vast majority of firms claim to be ‘responsive’ and to provide ‘quality’ service. But simply making those statements doesn’t tell the client anything. Every other firm out there is making the same claims, which makes them entirely ineffective. Even if every firm doesn’t act that way, clients expect – and have a right to expect – that they’ll receive quality service and responsiveness. This language gives little guidance to potential clients when choosing a firm to represent them.
How Effective is Your Firm Overview Page?
One test of your About or Firm Overview page is to ask, “If we put our biggest competitor’s name at the top of this Firm Overview, would it still be true (other than with very minor exceptions)?” If it is, your page needs an overhaul.
If you can’t tell the difference between your competitor’s firm and your firm, how can you expect your clients to tell the difference?
Your law firm isn’t the same as the one down the street, so why is your Firm Overview largely interchangeable? In order to be able to get and keep clients, you need to offer them something they can’t get anywhere else.
Instead of clichés and over-used phrases like the ones above, provide details that the client can relate to and that truly set you apart. Let your About page reflect the firm’s personality and culture. In my next post, I’ll give you some specific tips on how you can do just that to improve your firm’s About page.