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This is quite a headshot.

Some marketing topics are complex and require a lengthy discussion.  Other times, res ipsa loquitur (“the thing speaks for itself”) applies. We think today’s discussion of lawyer website biography photos might be one of those.

In the early-2000s, lawyer website photos were stiff and formal.  Suits, ties, and plain-gray backgrounds. Over time, attorneys grew willing to soften these formal website photos. To make them more casual. Less rigid.

For example, firms are opting for friendlier “environmental” pictures, in front of a window or landscape, over the formal “high school yearbook” style in front of a gray screen. Increasingly, lawyers and firms with a more casual style have eschewed suits and ties in favor of business-casual attire.

And some lawyer photos are even less stiff:

Winston-Salem’s J. Clark Fischer, for example.  Photos can help provide information that plain text cannot — “a picture is worth 1000 words” and all that.  And Mr. Fischer’s “head shot”?  I’ve never met Mr. Fischer, a criminal defense lawyer, but suddenly I know a lot about him.  I mean, like, an awful lot.

He sprayed on a tan and made an intentional and relatively hard choice in going this direction.

Many of his peers have said good things about his legal skills. The fundamental marketing question is:  Are you more or less likely to hire him to defend you in your DUI or murder trial after seeing this photo?  

What do you think?  Please feel free to comment below.

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Photos (c) 2015  J. Clark Fischer


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Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • What_was_he_thinking says:

    Oh, I think Mr. Fischer looks very stiff.

  • Ted Palmer says:

    He may be very proud of his accomplishments as a lean body-builder, and a very smart lawyer, but sometimes a low social IQ can be the downfall of an otherwise smart person. He must have had his head up his tight butt when he decided to publish that picture of himself.

  • Peter says:

    I’d hire him for my drug trial. I think he would be empathetic.

  • tkollman says:

    Have you never been told “never judge a book by it’s cover”? Don’t judge Clark Fischer by his cover, he is an awesome lawyer!! He has handled two cases for my family and has done an excellent job!! He has a great sense of humor and that is what the world needs more of, people who are not afraid to stand up for themselves and others!!

    • Ross Fishman says:

      TKollman – I’m not suggesting that Mr. Fischer isn’t a fine lawyer. I have never met him and know nothing about him except that which I see on his website. And that’s my point. The internet, particularly a professional website is EXACTLY where people “judge a book by its cover.”

      And in light of that, I think it’s our responsibility to ensure that our firm or company websites convey the sense of personality and professionalism that give clients comfort in our skills, expertise, and judgment. Because prospects seeking to learn more about a lawyer will determine whether they want him/her to represent their interests in part based upon what they learn on the website. It’s often the first place they’ll go for more information.

      This is why I recommend in the marketing campaigns and websites we develop for law firms that we do nothing that could unnecessarily alienate potential clients, without making you at least as attractive to a different market segment. So if, for example, Mr. Fischer is seeking to represent the body-building community, this might be an effective photo. But an odd bio photo like this bikini shot will likely turn off a great many potential clients who won’t be able to see his technical skills.

      Personally, if we’d been representing Mr. Fischer, I’d have suggested that photos like that would be more appropriate for something like Facebook than the firm’s official website. Or perhaps the visibility is generating significant business with people who e.g. want a lawyer with a more fun and casual personality.

      Thanks for writing.

  • Not interested says:

    I would never hire this fool based on that image! It is ridiculous! I want an attorney that takes pride in his job when advertising it. I do not care about his hobbies to the degree that i need to see this photo. It makes him look like a joke, rather he is a good attorney or not. Wow! Arrogance is all i see.

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