5 Ways To Make Your Law Firm's Practice Descriptions Stand Out

by JD Supra Perspectives
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Most practice descriptions are written to please the lawyers who approve them rather than the clients who need them.

I read a lot of law firm practice descriptions. Occasionally I come across one that is well written, client focused, and concise, a useful overview of what the firm does, and how its lawyers help their clients. 

Most, however, miss the mark. Most do a poor job of selling legal services. Most of them are bland laundry lists of honors and skill sets, written to please the lawyers who approve them rather than the clients who need them. 

The good news is that – with elbow grease and a good red pencil – you can make your practice descriptions stand out. Here’s how: 

1. Write about real challenges your clients face 

People go to your website for a reason: they have concerns, they have problems, they need advice; they want to know if you can help. They’re looking for answers, not the places your team went to law school or the awards they’ve won or the size of your firm. And without exception, their questions are about them – what they should do when they’re sued, how they should handle a problem employee, when they should seek second-round financing for their business – not about you. Answer those questions, and your description will stand out.

2. Avoid platitudes 

No potential client decides to pick up the phone and call you when she reads sentences like “Our M&A lawyers are results-oriented advocates for our client.” Most of the time, she doesn’t even decide to finish the sentence. Make sure that doesn’t happen – keep her engaged with language that doesn’t sound it came from a fortune cookie.  

3. Avoid legalese 

There’s no guarantee that the people who are going to read your practice description – those who decide whether or not to trust you with their work – are lawyers. For that matter, there’s no guarantee that lawyers looking at your text appreciate legalese, either. So go easy on the jargon and the insider terminology. Talk about what you do in language that anyone can understand.

4. Tell a (good) story 

Everyone likes a story, and you have plenty to tell. When you helped a public company fend off a frivolous class-action lawsuit. When you helped a struggling inventor monetize her intellectual property and save her business. When you helped a wrongly fired employee get his job back. Tell stories that demonstrate the benefits you bring to your clients, and new ones will be eager to find out more. 

5. Don’t use code 

Yes, it’s good to include important keywords in your practice description, both for SEO and to reassure readers that you have the chops to help them, but you only think you need to list all the different types of clients you have represented, or all of the types of matters you have handled. No one is going to slog through a long list of things you know how to do. And they’re certainly not going to hire you because of it. 

It’s hard to write practice descriptions that speak to clients, that articulate the benefits of your firm, that compel people to learn more and maybe even hire your lawyers. That’s why doing it will make yours stand out. 

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[Lance Godard has spent three decades within the legal profession, in-house and as a consultant, helping lawyers and practice groups grow their book of business. Connect with him on LinkedIn and follow his new work on JD Supra.]

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