Are your Fee Earners website profiles working hard enough?

Debbie Lawrenson
  • Debbie Lawrenson
  • Head of Digital

A fee earner is the person who carries out the work that delivers the fee to a law firm. It’s the lawyer who takes instruction or cases and who then charges the client for that work.

Your fee earner website profiles are the part of your website that tell potential clients about each lawyer in your firm – a bit of professional background alongside specialist skills and a short summing up of particular professional successes. 

Why are fee earner profiles important?

Too often, fee earner profiles are seen as a less important part of overall legal website design, secondary to the bigger, overall company information. That’s a big mistake. When people choose legal representation or advice of any kind, they’re looking for people that they can work with and rely on.

What kind of expertise has she got? Has he worked with similar businesses needing similar legal support? Is she worth the fees we’re paying? Is he going to deliver to my high expectations?

Good fee earner profiles cut through the waffle and spin to show clients how your lawyers deliver the goods. A potential client wants to know:

  • Who are you?
  • What knowledge and expertise do you have?
  • How have you applied it during your career?

A vehicle for content marketing

But the importance of fee earner profiles goes deeper than that. As they’re part of the content on your website, those profiles can be high performing elements of your content marketing strategy.

By that we mean that if you are savvy about what’s written in each profile, it will respond to things like Google searches, stimulating interest in your law firm. Content marketing also retains the interest in your business that’s already out there, through demonstrating expertise and topical discussion.

Add in the fact that the content of fee earner profiles is easily updated and shared, and you have the perfect vehicle for some significant sales generation.

What makes a good fee earner profile?

The best legal website design shares something with all first-rate web design: it starts with user experience. That means keeping users on your website with clear information, valuable content, easy functionality and appealing graphics. Break this down into simple terms and it comprises:

  • Responsive design – enabling the site to be accessed equally well from any device, including smartphone, tablet and desktop.
  • Overall design and graphics that are on a par with up-to-date and popular websites that clients use in other areas of their lives (for information, services and retail, for example).
  • Well considered and executed photography – showing a real, professional-looking person, not a head and shoulders rictus mugshot.
  • Written content needs to be clear and specific. It should show a real understanding of what clients need and then demonstrate the fee-earner’s ability to fulfil that need. Content should be clearly sectioned so that clients don’t have to wade through information that’s irrelevant to find what they’re looking for.
  • Show the individual lawyer’s strengths through insights and comments that demonstrate their expertise, personality and specialisms.
  • Simple, one-click options for contacting and networking with that lawyer. Upfront, as part of the profile, not hidden away.

What makes a bad fee earner profile?

Now we’ve looked at the good stuff, here are how an awful lot of law firms are getting it wrong.

  • Bad photography. Photographs have instant impact and you want that impact to be a positive one. Unfortunately, the use of things like black and white photography and cut-outs scream: Lack of investment! Out of date! Low energy! Not very proactive!

Not the message you want to get out, is it?

  • Poor written content – copy that’s bloated, verbose and stale, and which lacks focus. Your profile is essentially a sales pitch and sales copy needs to be punchy, to-the-point and above all, persuasive. Use key points and clear sections to address different topics.
  • Lack of profile builders – these include things like insights from the lawyer in question, reviews of their work and memberships to professional bodies. These can do a huge amount to win confidence and build a comprehensive and appealing profile.

Still stuck? Think like a used car salesman

You might think this a slightly peculiar aspiration for a member of the legal profession, but stick with me.

Take a look at how used cars are sold at AutoTrader. It gives you the facts that you need to help you to decide what you buy. Key facts, special features, running costs and a star-rating review – they’re all immediately available, clearly displayed – nothing obscure, no waffle. You’ll also notice the instant appeal of the car ads with the best photos.

A law business is only ever as good as the fee earners that work within it. A law business really is all about its people – who they are, what they do, what they’re likely to achieve.  It’s what the potential clients looking at your website want to know about.

You need to think about the site user and show them that you are what they’re looking for. If you think about your users, those site users will start thinking about you for their business. Then a good fee earner profile will really start to bring in those fees.