By: Kathryn Marshall
Chances are when you start working at a new firm, the first thing you will be asked to do is write your bio.
As a lawyer, your bio is really important. When you Google most lawyers by name, their bio is often the first thing that comes up.
Other lawyers, and most importantly, potential clients will scope out your bio to try and get a sense of who you are, what you do, and how effective and experienced you are.
Many lawyers write their bio’s in a CV format, with their education, credentials and awards at the top, and their experience and hobbies/interests/personal stuff at the bottom. Bio’s often read like a list of education, credentials and achievements. What lawyers should be doing in their bios is telling the story of who they are. It should read as a narrative, not a list, and the stuff lawyers normally put at the bottom of their CV should appear at top of their bios.
Simply put, a great lawyer bio reads like a story in a newspaper, not like a boring CV.
Here are some tips to write a standout bio:
- Cut the legalese. Write your bio for people who don’t have law degrees. Keep it clear, accessible and straightforward.
- The first paragraph of the bio is the most important paragraph. You should explain who you are (ex. civil defense lawyer), why you became a lawyer (ex. Because you believe in the pursuit of justice and To Kill a Mockingbird is your favorite book) and what you are passionate about (ex. Advocacy and long boarding). You want people to keep reading on, so make it interesting and give readers a glimpse of who you are as a person.
- The second paragraph of your bio should highlight your experience, because experience is very important in this line of work. This can include your years of practice and notable career highlights and accomplishments.
- The third paragraph of your bio should go over your credentials, where you went to law school, when you were called to the bar and any professional certifications you have achieved.
- The longer the better. Many lawyers have the tendency to keep their bios on the short side. But when someone is looking for a lawyer and is prepared to spend a lot of money, they want to know as much as they can about the person they are interested in hiring. That being said, you don’t want a 2,000 word bio.
- Include a recent good quality photograph. A strong, relatable biography needs a good photo to go with it, so invest in a professional photographer to take a good snap of you.
- Contact information. This is critical, it should be clear, bold and easy to find. Put it at the top of your bio.