Law Inc.

Make Your Law Firm Bio Stand Out

Highlight your biggest achievements up front, and avoid the typical boilerplate formula

, Daily Report

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Photo of Adrian Dayton
Adrian Dayton is an attorney and author of the book "Social Media for Lawyers (Twitter Edition)." His website is adriandayton.com.

Lawyer bios tend to share some problems. They lack focus, they are boring and they often contain too much superfluous information. Probably the worst thing is this: They bury the lead.

Here are a few examples of great "leads" that need to be front and center in a bio. "Mr. Smith recently closed the largest lease agreement in the history of the state." "Mrs. Doe manages one of the largest patent portfolios in the region." Or how about another one I saw recently: "Over 15 injunctions under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act."

Notice that none of these claims is puffed up—they simply represent facts that make strong points. Similarly, you need to position your own achievements front and center on your bio.

Remember what you learned in high school yearbook class: When writing an article, you need to get to the point immediately. The "lead" is the juiciest bit. An article about the events of Sept. 11, 2001, shouldn't discuss the weather and the stock prices that day before casually mentioning that thousands were killed when two planes crashed into the World Trade Center.

Lawyer bios make a similar mistake when they follow this seemingly dull boilerplate ­formula:

No. 1: Where do you work, what do you practice and were you on law review.

No. 2: List every single type of work you have ever participated in, from mergers and acquisitions to immigration to land-use law to alternative dispute resolution.

No. 3: After three paragraphs hint at actual major work you have done.

No. 4: In the final line, mention something really interesting you do in your free time.

Why do lawyers do that? I've asked a few attorneys and this is an answer I received: "When I first started practicing, I copied someone else's bio format and have just added information over the years."

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