Legal marketers need to see how one of America’s most-talked-about lawyers has carefully curated his digital presence...
The website’s home page opens with a highly stylized black-and-white photograph of a man set against an all-white background.
It’s a tight shot, and we see a collar of what looks to be a racing jacket. A quote fades in: “There are results, and then there are excuses.”
Click on the blinking arrow, and another quote appears: “Don’t tell me what cases you’ve won. Tell me who you’ve beaten.”
Then this quote: “If you can’t take a punch, you don’t belong in the ring.” If you’re inclined to dig deeper, a few more in-your-face quotes are available for viewing.
Straight away, you know this guy is a heavy hitter. And unlike the websites of so many solo practitioners, there’s nothing cheesy about this presentation.
Welcome to Michael Avenatti’s website.
When you’re a high-profile lawyer, your reputation and TV appearances do your bidding, while your website typically takes a more conventional route. Your practice areas are informational; your biography is often bland.
Not Michael Avenatti.
His presence is, on one hand, elegant and bespoke. His delivery is pure tough guy. More often than not, he is the smartest person in the room.
It takes a lot of chutzpah to pull off a website like this.
Legal marketers need to see how one of America’s most-talked-about lawyers has carefully curated his digital presence, and that it is perfectly aligned with his public persona.
Granted, the majority of legal marketers don’t support lawyers like Avenatti. Even so, is there anything a legal marketer can glean from Avenatti’s website, though? You bet there is:
1. Maintain a consistent tone
The tone and the voice of your firm should carry through to your practice area descriptions and attorneys’ biographies.
Wimpy language doesn’t convey a firm whose brand characteristics have been identified as “serious,” “top tier” or “experienced.” Likewise, if your firm is “entrepreneurial” and “cutting-edge,” and your clients are, for the most part, startup companies, an old-style practice description just isn’t going to cut it.
Wimpy language doesn’t convey a firm whose brand characteristics have been identified as “serious,” “top tier” or “experienced.”
Avenatti’s website doesn’t look or feel like a personal injury website — nor does it resemble a traditional Big Law site. His “take no prisoners” approach to content and the site’s sophisticated design are unusual for his type of law practice. (This is another reason why Avenatti’s website is successful. He’s not afraid to include a gallery and print section, which are devoted to his media appearances and mentions, which we can assume to be geared explicitly for media inquiries.)
2. Leverage the power of pull quotes
Marketers should apply the power of the pull quote to their attorneys’ bios. Like we see on Avenatti’s website, a great quote offers a peek into the attorney’s world, reflects his or her philosophy or passion, and does it faster and better than the usual awkwardly composed narrative section of a biography.
3. Don't skimp on high-quality photography (professional fee earners deserve it)
Whether the attorney’s photo is relaxed and seemingly candid, or an elegant and traditional portrait, this is where law firms shouldn’t pinch pennies. Going cheap will show up in the final product.
...check that your designer has allocated adequate real estate for the attorney’s bio photo.
Marketers must drive that point home and make a case for high-quality photography. Clients want to see who it is they’re hiring, so lose those thumbnail-sized attorney headshots. Plus, bigger bio photos, like Avenatti’s, are on trend, so check that your designer has allocated adequate real estate for the attorney’s bio photo.
Because most lawyers can’t moonlight as fashion models, be sure your photographer (or photo company) includes light retouching in their estimate.
In fact, some of the larger law firms are including stylists for their photo shoots to assist with wardrobe and last-minute touch ups for hair and make-up. If your budget can handle the additional cost, consider this money well spent.
Michael Avenatti visited Iowa recently where he, according to NBC News, “spoke at the Wing Ding Dinner in Iowa, which has long been a key stop for potential presidential candidates.” Perhaps the rumors are true — that Avenatti is exploring a political run.
While I don’t know if this is just conjecture, I do know this: Avenatti’s website is worth a look, and he’s starting to make being a lawyer look cool again.
[Nancy Slome heads up Lawyers Biography Service and is a seasoned legal marketing consultant with more than a decade of experience advising attorneys on strategic marketing initiatives and creating compelling content for law firm websites. She was recently the VP of Content Strategy at Jaffe and a principal with One to One Interactive. Nancy has held marketing director positions at Pillsbury and White & Case and served on the Board of Directors for the Metro New York Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association. She is a regular presenter at industry conferences such as the LMASE & LMANE Regional Conference, Social Media for Law Firms, The Conference Board, National Investor Relations Institute and the LMA Marketing Tech West Conference.]