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“How will prospects know I’m awesome if I don’t tell them?”

Hi. It’s Ross. Let me tell you a few things about myself:

  • I’m excellent.
  • I have integrity.
  • I’m responsive.
  • I’m experienced.
  • I’m technically knowledgeable.
  • I’m legally effective.
  • I’m a partner who understands your business.

So? Did I persuade you?

Do you want to hire me? Are you now motivated to visit my website to learn more about me?  Do you like me more than you did ten seconds ago?  (Or do you need a shower to wash off the stink?)

Every kindergartner knows the No-Bragging rule.  So why do so many lawyers think that having an advanced degree makes it OK?  “It’s not ‘bragging,’ Ross, it’s ‘Marketing.’”

Nope, it’s still bragging. And it’s boorish.

If I tell you that “I’m excellent,” are you convinced?

heller-ehrman-bad-ad-braggingWould a sophisticated marketer, lawyer, or law firm brag that blatantly in their marketing materials?  Perhaps you’d be surprised to learn that my distasteful self-aggrandizing introduction above is actually a near-verbatim transcription of an old HellerEhrman ad.

Granted, they ran this many years ago, and I’m not suggesting that the firm collapsed because of this particular ad. It’s just one fairly blatant example of an enormous category of what I call “Let me tell you about me” marketing.

I would suggest that if you wouldn’t utter it to a new acquaintance at a cocktail party, don’t say it in your marketing materials either. It’s ill-mannered and unpersuasive.

We all know how these things happens. Marketing committees are full of lawyers who sincerely believe that their firm possesses all of these positive attributes, and want prospects to know that:

“What do clients want from their lawyers?

Uh… experience?

Yeah! Good one, Joe! Write that down!  What else?

Um… responsiveness?

Yeah!  Great one, Deborah! Write that down too!”

It’s all well intentioned, it’s just not the most sophisticated approach from a marketing standpoint.  (I’ll bet neither HellerEhrman’s highly skilled marketers nor advertising agency developed this ad.)

So now analyze your website’s home page text.

Is it full of hollow, unsubstantiated, self-serving claims about the quality of your firm, its technical skills, experience, quality, practical solutions, creativity, professionalism, integrity, innovation, values, talent, expertise, exceptional service, outstanding results, personal attention, and responsiveness? Your big-firm skills in a nicer, smaller, more collegial environment?

Sure it is. results-relationships-reputation

Does your firm have one of those “Three, one-word sentence” tag lines? Like “Results. Relationships. Reputation.” or “Excellence. Expertise. Experience.” Or maybe four, like “Diligence, Integrity, Creativity, Intelligence…” (like these actual website screen shots) then I’d suggest that you look again at the HellerEhrman ad above and explain why you think your slogan is different.


So?  How are you feeling now?


BTW, if you’re suddenly feeling mortified, call me. 😉

We’ll come up with some marketing or branding materials or a website that will help persuade your targets that you truly are amazing lawyers. We’ll just need to be a bit more thoughtful and sophisticated in our approach, OK?

Contact Ross at +1.847.921.7677 or


Click here to see a video of Ross’s marketing presentations.

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