Common Lawyer Bio Mistakes
February 23, 2016
We commonly see two mistakes in lawyer bios on firm websites, one related to ease of contact and the other regarding creating immediate credibility for a lawyer.
These are important to address because the most often visited pages on your site in sum, even more than total opens of your Home page, are lawyer bio pages. Also, the most common reasons visitors visit bios is to contact a lawyer to whom they have been referred, or to vet just prior to initial contact. So, a best practice is to make contact via your bio page as easy as possible for a visitor, and hit hard and fast regarding standing in the bar.
To ensure maximum chance of being contacted it’s best to have either the lawyer’s actual email address as a link (firstname.lastname@example.org) or a link (saying ’email your name’, in addition to having the ability to download a vcard). Put this right at the top. Some firms force visitors to open a downloadable vcard. The problem: that means visitors have to click twice more to get to an open email form addressed to you–and several studies show the more often a visitor has to click to complete a transaction, the less likely they are to complete the process.
Visitors looking at your bio make up their mind about your credibility, about your standing in the bar and experience, in seconds. They were told you were right for the job by someone else, and you need to confirm that ASAP. That means badges for Best Lawyers®, Super Lawyers®, and AV® Ratings need to be above the scroll, not down at the bottom of a bio page where they will not be seen by a visitor until that visitor (hopefully) spends time reading through your bona-fides.
These branded peer-review based images, plus a U.S. News Best Law Firm® badge are like pictures and worth 1,000 words each. In less than a second you know the lawyer whose bio you are about to read is top-drawer. We think you should move these up on everyone’s bio so they are seen immediately every time a bio gets opened, including on mobile versions of your lawyer bios, if possible.
Yes, designers will say these icons clutter up the graphic beauty of what they are trying to do with your site. And, they probably are correct. After all, the badges were not designed with your website’s design or color palette in mind. However, with apologies to all of the fine website designers we know, function over form wins out here.