Where are visitors to your law firm website spending their time? Not on that carefully crafted value proposition statement you put on the homepage. And not on that “About our Practice” page that you and your partners fought over for a couple weeks solid.
Nope. They’re looking at your bio. And, more specifically, at the picture on your bio page. You know the one? Where you tried for a smile that said “nice” but in a “zealous advocate” kind of way? Where the tint of your hair says “trusted advisor” but not “old”? Where your well-cut jacket says “successful” but not “impossibly high hourly rate”? Yep, that one. The dreaded, impossible-to-get-right law firm website photo.
Though you can meet potential clients anywhere, there’s really one place that prospects go to get to know you: your page on your firm’s website. So it’s important that your bio conveys the quality of your work, the results you achieve and something about the personal traits that make you a valuable team member. It also has to be concise and compelling enough that prospective clients actually read it.
It’s your photo, though, that says even more about you.
And the impression it gives colors what’s on the rest of the page. If you appear competent, likable and influential, your bio lis likely to be perceived positively. But if the accompanying photo is off-putting—too dour to be likable or too laid back to be competent—that same bio can be read negatively. Depth can be taken as obfuscation; brevity as a lack of commitment.
The bottom line is that if your photo “works,” you’re more likely to get calls and meetings that can lead to new business.
Unfortunately, though, important as it might be, your photo doesn’t get much attention in the process of marketing of your practice. Firms tend to hire the same corporate photographers over and over and they tend to value consistency over quality. Odds are, you’ll be asked to pose in the same way all your colleagues do. You’ll be in the same setting as they are. The light and angles will match certain pre-defined standards for what works best with the overall look and branding of the website. There’s nothing wrong with any of that, per se. But there’s also not much right about it. A photo is supposed to convey something about you, personally. It’s not just about the firm’s brand. As a business development tool, it’s an invitation to develop a unique relationship between you and a potential client. In this digital age, it’s way more important than those fancy business cards the marketing department had printed up for you. And it’s time that law firms step up their profile photo game.
At Page 2, we’ve heard all the practical objections to doing more with law firm website photos. We’re often told that there simply isn’t time or money to devote to a personal photo shoot for every new attorney. So, last year, when we re-booted our own website, we decided to see what we could do with the same constraints our clients face. We wouldn’t take more than a single morning away from work, we’d only go within walking distance of our River North offices and our photographer would have no assistant, no studio and no super-fancy lighting set up.
Still, given all those limitations, photographer Rich Chapman was able to come up with gorgeous photos that show off beautiful Chicago, our high-energy team and our creative, can-do spirit. Here are some of our favorites from that October 2016 shoot.