What lawyers put in bios versus what clients want

What lawyers clients want in bios


Kevin O’Keefe shared this image on Twitter that was originally shared by Sam Glover.

I retweeted this on Twitter (which means that when I saw it on Twitter, I hit the “retweet” button) and it was passed along to all of my followers.

Then over a dozen of my followers retweeted it to their networks. This is an example of a piece of content that resonates. Why is it so funny? Because it is so incredibly close to the truth.

But why are lawyers so terribly bad at bios? It is kind of like a species of animal that is born in captivity, it never has the chance to learn how to behave properly—no good model. Lawyers are modeling their behave after the older lawyers that simply created something that looked like what their partners before them had.

The sad truth is, they didn’t create bios with the client in mind. They just created bios in an attempt to be consistent with others.

I asked a new partner at a firm how he came up with the format for his bio and he told me “I just looked at someone else’s bio and did the exact same thing.” And the blind continue leading the blind.

The Ultra-fast Personality Test

Today at the Marketing Partner Forum Craig Brown, a consultant at Law Vision shared a quick technique that can be very helpful in assessing the personality of an individual you are working with or coaching. Gauging their personality type can be a powerful window into how they are wired and what motivates them.

There are two simple questions you need to ask to determine which of four personality types an individual belongs to.

Question 1: Is the person in front of me task oriented or relationship oriented?

Question 2: Is this person methodical or fast acting?
So based on the answer to these two questions, we can get a guess of whether a person is:
Analytical (want information)
Directors/Drivers (need to be in charge, get it done)
Relator/Amiables (want to get along)
Performers/Expressives (need to get appreciated)
If you try to rush an Analytical person, you may end up frustrated. If you try to ask a performer to take one for the team, this might not sit well with them. Understanding what motivates people can facilitate much better communication.
Steve Bell at Womble Carlyle says that years ago his firm had all of their lawyers tested for personality types. Posted on their doors for all the others to see they had listed the five strengths of each of these lawyers. This led to mud more effective meetings, because right before communicating with or having meetings with different types of lawyers they could check their strategy and make sure they were going in with the right approach.
Think about someone you work with directly. Which personality type do they belong to? Which personality type is your spouse? Your best friend?
This was one of the first great takeaways I learned from the Marketing Partner Forum in Naples, Florida. I’ll be here for the next couple of days. You can follow more of my comments about the conference on Twitter at #MPF14

Does anybody read LinkedIn status updates?

People go to Youtube to watch videos, they go to Facebook to see updates from friends and family. They go to Twitter to see updates from celebrities, reporters or thought leaders. Why do they go to LinkedIn?

Is it to read status updates from other professionals in their network?

To find articles that people over at LinkedIn have recommended to you?

Not a chance.

People go to LinkedIn to view profiles and find people. Now some people will click on the occasional link, I’ve been known to do this from time to time, but LinkedIn just isn’t the network I look to for content. Why? The biggest reason is that LinkedIn is not fun. People aren’t sending around fun information mixed with good articles, they are just sending random business stuff.

Not the real LinkedIn tagline, but suggested as a more "honest" version.

Not the real LinkedIn tagline, but suggested as a more “honest” version.

Why is it random? Because your network of business associates is a mixed bag. Some of them share about computers while others share about geology. It is a seemingly random conglomeration of content. LinkedIn badly wants to change this, they are obviously pushing to make LinkedIn as important to the content discussion as Twitter- but it isn’t working.

So is it worth it to post your news and articles to LinkedIn? Yes, it is worth it. It only takes moment, and it may be read by your network. But if you share it only on LinkedIn, you aren’t sharing to an engaged audience of readers. You are sharing with a bunch of business people you may have met once, that probably rarely check the homepage of LinkedIn. If you wanted to share on a site that nobody ever checked, you could have just shared the post on Google+. But I digress.

The best way to share on LinkedIn is not through the “status update” function, but through the message function. If you really want people to read your article, send it to them direct using the message function. LinkedIn will even let you put together a quick list of your connections so you can send it to them all at once.

You can still share in the “status update” box, just don’t expect to see a lot of action from it. It’s nothing against LinkedIn, but it just isn’t the place people go to find blog posts, articles or news.



How long should a blog post be?

New bloggers love to ask, “how long should my blog post be?” 500 words? Is 1,000 words too much?

You graduated from law school a long time, so forget about numeric constraints. When blogging you are no longer bound by rules or Blue Book guidelines. I believe in a common sense approach to the length of blog posts:

1. Say something interesting right at the beginning.

2. If you don’t have anything else interesting to say, end it there.

3. If you have more to say that is useful and interesting, find a way to say it as quickly as possible. A blog post is a snack, not a meal.

This post was just over 100 words. Some days you just have to be ok with that.

How do you know if you share too much online?

“I just don’t want to be that guy.”

We have all seen him. He posts all day, everyday. Anytime you jump on to Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter you see his smiling face and another new post. Usually they aren’t very interesting, sometimes they seem contrived, and sometimes they border on TMI (too much information). Ok, your version may just as likely be a woman that posts too much, but we all have them in our networks.

This is one of the big concern many professionals have when it comes to sharing updates on LinkedIn or Twitter. They don’t want to be the infamous “over-sharer.”

Here are three things to remember that will help keep you from becoming “that guy.”

1. If you post three times a day, most of the people in your network will only see one or two of these posts at most. Remember, the feeds on LinkedIn and Twitter are likes rivers, the content is always streaming by. You only see the new posts when you log-on and take a look. Over-sharers are often posting 15-20 times each day.

2. Share the best content you find. If it was interesting or useful to you, it will likely meet that seem need for others in your network. Be a collector of quality content and you will never be accused of over-sharing, no matter how often you post.

3. Don’t use over sharers as an excuse to never post. Many times the lawyers that bring up this argument have never posted a single update. If you never share or share once or twice a week, you will likely be ignored by your network. If you post once a day, you may at the very least give the impression that you are an active social media user that is connected to what is happening in the world. So start sharing.

To those of you who are experts in your field, start sharing content that shows how well you can identify relevant information. If you can find great information to share on a regular basis, nobody will accuse you of sharing too much. Well, maybe just your competitors.


Would you leave your family to travel to Mars?

In the Stephen Spielberg movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” a father abandons his family and loses his job to leave with alien visitors. The plot never set well with me, and having two kids of my own I just thought, “a parent would never do that.” In 2005, in an interview, Speilberg admitted that now that he has kids he would have never had the main character leave his family like that. Mars picture

Yet, crazier things happen. I learned yesterday that a father who is married with four children, ranging in ages of from 6 months to 13 years old has made the short list for the first manned mission to Mars. It is a one-way trip.

He has made the first cut to a list of about 1,000 finalists, so his chance of taking the trip are quite slim, but the very idea of a father leaving his family to go to Mars has set off a flurry of comments on Facebook and elsewhere. Here are some of the more popular comments:

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 8.32.50 AM


I was fascinate by the dilemma and the discussion because it is really an extreme argument. Every day busy professionals make trade-offs that force them to choose work over family. I grew up with a father who was an extremely busy surgeon with complete dedication to patient care. He was married to his patients, this is actually the term doctors use when you don’t use a team practice to cover a patient but you are always on call for your individual patients. For practical purposes this meant that my father was rarely home before 8 at night and often he had to work all night, or leave in the middle of the night. He was saving lives and working for a greater cause, but it didn’t make me miss him less. It also made me hate that he was a doctor sometimes.

Every individual that chooses to accomplish something great in their life must make sacrifices. Lawyers that choose jobs in the top NYC firms make a huge sacrifice as well. They make $1-$2 Million dollars per year at the big firms once they make partner—but at what cost? You can’t bill 2,200+ hours per year and have much time left for work-life-ballance. Some sacrifice time, others put their lives at risk. Soldiers, deep sea drillers, and aid workers in war zones all take great risks while seeking their goals. Those four brave souls that decide to take this first trip to Mars will be making the ultimate sacrifice, but their names will be remember by history forever. What percentage of all human beings will ever have a chance to be remembered that way?

It isn’t fair though. Of course not. Its not fair to the wife who is left behind or for the children who are left fatherless. Why is he able to seek glory, while she is left behind holding the bag? I see the point of those people that are upset by the very idea.

What will the effect be on the children? How will they deal with losing a father to science and to the “progress of humanity?” If it happens, I think it will be complicated. Just like my relationship with my father is complicated. I love him and I’m inspired by the amazing things he has done, saving thousands of lives throughout his career and achieving national recognition. But at the same time I can’t ever get back a childhood where I couldn’t play catch with my Dad because he wasn’t home.

I guess my final thought is this, don’t be too quick to judge those willing to sacrifice in search of something great. I think there is something inside all of us that drives us to sacrifice personally for the greater good of society. If it wasn’t for this drive inside all of us, we may have never survived as a species.

3 Things to Do on LinkedIn While Drinking Your Morning Coffee

The biggest excuse keeping professionals from using LinkedIn? “I don’t have the time for one more thing.” So I decided to quickly give you three effecting things you could do on LinkedIn while you are drinking your morning coffee.Aint-Nobody-Got-Time-for-That Gif

1. Check to see “who’s viewed your profile.” Even with a free LinkedIn account you are able to see a sampling of the people who have viewed your profile. This is not only interesting if not somewhat creepy, but it will let you know who is thinking about you. If you see a potential client has viewed your profile, shoot them a message. (Don’t do it right away, and don’t mention you saw they were looking at your profile.) Doesn’t it makes sense to market to the one person you know is thinking about you?

This feature appears on the homepage of every LinkedIn account.

This feature appears on the homepage of every LinkedIn account.

2. Add 3 new connections. The top right corner of the LinkedIn “People You May Know” section will give you a few suggestions , but if you want to drill down further you can hit the “network” button on the top of the screen and select “find alumni.” This will show you people that went to school when and where you did. You can also filter this down to see those working in the legal industry or to find those who live in your same city.

People You May Know on LinkedIn








Click on "find alumni" to search for your old classmates

Click on “find alumni” to search for your old classmates







3. Share you favorite article from that morning using the “Share an update” feature on the homepage. If you have spent 30 minutes reading the best articles of the day, taking one more minute to share a link to that article only takes a moment, shows you are on top of the latest issues and adds value to your network. Will anybody read your update? Absolutely, and if you aren’t sure, you can always go to bitly.com to shorten the link and track how many people have viewed it.

Share an update on LinkedIn

A mentor of mine once told me, “you can’t make time, you have to schedule time.” You’ve already scheduled your cup of coffee, lets make that time count by checking off a few of these tasks on LinkedIn.

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