Jordan Furlong, a legal web innovation expert, recently described the website of Marque Lawyers, an Australian firm, as having the “world’s best” lawyer profiles, but others think the bios are more appropriate for Match.com.
Here are some examples:
Combining extreme height with freaky flexibility and double jointed elbows, [Caity] has some excellent party tricks…Kim is Marque’s Style Queen and possesses both the sense of a country girl (because she is) and the sensibility of a fashion icon…Hannah does have a slightly dorky love of the law, [but] she’d still prefer to tell you how cute her dog is.
Furlong explains that these profiles are effective because they make people want to meet the lawyers and spend time at the firm. These profiles reflect the firm’s brand and set its lawyers apart from all of the other “experienced” lawyers, according to Furlong.
Attorney and prominent blogger Carolyn Elefant, on the other hand, dismisses the bios as overly self-indulgent, “screaming out like a little kid ‘Look at me, look at me, LOOK AT ME – see how clever I am!’” Elefant thinks that the profiles might be successful, however, to the extent that they attract clients who value “style” over “competence.”
I agree with Elefant that prospective clients aren’t looking for someone to hang out with. However, I also think that Furlong makes a great point: According to the Internet, every lawyer is exactly the same.
In fact, if you look at almost any attorney website, you’ll see some variation of “aggressive and experienced attorney who aggressively uses his/her decades upon decades of experience to aggressively represent clients in a way that is really aggressive and experienced, for decades. Possibly since the dawn of time, even.”
It’s old. Literally.
Those of us who have not been alive for millions of years are still great lawyers. We just have selling points other than age, and we should use them. I think that that’s what Marque is trying to do, though maybe not in the most effective way (depending on the type of clients they’re trying to attract).
This brings me to one major problem I have with Elefant’s critique: she assumes that clients who value “style” do not value “competence and skill.” In other words, it seems that Elefant believes that style and competence are mutually exclusive.
Women who like cute puppies and fashion and do “excellent party tricks” can’t possibly be competent attorneys, right? Stupid. This reminds me of the dad from Legally Blonde who tells Elle, “Law school is for people who are boring and ugly and serious. And you, button, are none of those things.”
Legal marketing doesn’t have to be boring, and it shouldn’t be. Maybe the lawyers of Marque are screaming “LOOK AT ME,” but all marketing is about getting people to “look at” you. I don’t know whether the attention they’re getting is negative or positive, but I like that they’re breaking the rules.
What I like most of all, though, is that the young, female lawyers of Marque are not apologizing for being young and female. They’re proud of their youth and femininity, and
I’m proud too.
Call me, Denise Dolan, at (617) 336-7250 or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.