Monday 23 December 2013

Lawyer self-projection: when fluff and puff are not enough

Via Nick Holmes' Legal Web Watch December 2013 (this being an email supplement to Internet Newsletter for Lawyers) comes this wonderful diagram on lawyer profiles by Matt Homann (@matthomann).

It has been favourited and retweeted with some fervour, so I apologise for boring readers by showing them what they already know.

What occurred to me is that the sort of information in the left-hand side of the equation, puffed-up and/or irrelevant as it may seem, is the sort of information that is craved, or at least expected, by large corporate or public-sector clients. There, the source of the lawyer's instruction is likely to have a job, a salary and a considerable degree of peace of mind whether Boastful Bertie returns phone calls, does the job well or at least gives the impression of listening attentively or not.  The sort of client who genuinely cares whether the lawyer returns his calls and can do his job is more likely to an individual or small businessman whose number of dinners in the coming year is likely to depend on the outcome of the instruction.  For him, the immediacy of the sole practitioner may be more comforting, till he addresses issues that aren't on either side of Matt Homann's equation, such as "what happens if/when you go on holiday?" ...


  1. Just to echo some of Jeremy's points, recently a general practice firm was trying to get our referrals work. Their website is very consumer focussed, and has no significant CV-type information on it. I wanted to see this information, and it proved very hard work getting it.

    Also, I have experience of clients who want to use someone who has experience of exactly the same type of agreement. So if you say distribution agreements on your website but not agency agreements or franchise agreements, they may assume you're not right for them.

  2. During my in-house years (the 1990s and before many lawyers had accepted presence on the internet as a fact of business life) I found getting reliable answers to "What's your background ?" and "What do you actually do ?" was best achieved by the inevitably informal meeting over coffee / informal meeting in a bar / discussion over lunch : should think this still underpins the left-hand side (at least for IP practitioners) ? On holidays for the Solo IP person - just be honest - don't take on work that's time-critical if you can't handle it and be sure your network includes people who'll be able to help with any (expected or unexpected) time out of the office that's can't be avoided.