I stumbled across Matt Homann's very entertaining blog
and Venn diagram this week showing the miniscule overlap between what lawyers include in their bios and what clients actually care about:
LBW alumnus Bob Ambrogi chipped in with his twopenniesworth. Bob stated on his LawSites
blog that while Homann's "diagram suggests that many standard
elements of lawyer bios are irrelevant to clients. I don’t buy that." Bob argues that three of the points on the right side of Homann's diagram are the issues he thinks are most important and which should be answered in a lawyer bio: 1) Do you have experience doing exactly what I need?2) What kind of work are you really good at?3) What do your clients think of you?
Then Brian Tannebaum piped up to offer his own five key thoughts on lawyer bios on his My Law License blog
. Brian wasn't quite as succinct as Bob, and was clearly not impressed with much oif what goes into the average lawyer bio:
look to see if the lawyer fails to state their year of graduation or admission to the Bar, or doesn't have a link to easy access to that information.2. Disregard any value you may put
into someone being a "member" of anything. If they practice law, they are required to be a member of a bar. Stating that in a bio is nice, but means nothing. Basic memberships in other bar organizations are also meaningless.
3) Plenty of morons went to great schools.
(hey, I didn't!)
4) Plenty of stellar lawyers went to unknown schools.5)
A lawyers bio was probably written by the lawyer. A lawyer looking for clients. People say a lot of interesting things when they are looking for clients. Some of those interesting things are actually true.
Actually, I don't think most lawyer bios are written by lawyers. They're written first of all by lawyers, handed over to marketing, stripped of all the waffle (which might be most of it) and the end result is probably somewhere in between Bob's and Brian's ideal. In a big corporate law firm, lawyers do not write their bios (although they seemingly do the photos themselves...arrgggh, spooky
However, the most memorable profile I have ever read comes from UK barrister Colin Wynter of Deveraux Chambers (OK, OK, barristers are a slightly more eccentric bunch than most). Check out his paid-for (yes, he'll have paid to say this) Chambers UK entry here
and his personal statement in particular:"Personal: LLB (1st Class) (London), MPhil (Cantab);
fluent in French. Interests: fine and rare wines, real sports i.e. sports that can be played globally - so, not golf, nothing on snow or ice, nothing involving horses and nothing where performances are judged (eg. diving, gymnastics, synchronised anything), these all being either hobbies or performance routines properly belonging in the circus."
Can't say I disagree with the man. Rock on, Colin!!!