If you're pressed for time, the short answer is "nothing." Being "involved" communicates absolutely nothing. Lawyers' bios are rife with such passive, empty verbs. Yet, your bio may be the first substantive exposure many legal service buyers have to you (aside from whatever the source of a referral said about you). Don't waste the opportunity to make the impression you intend.

Too often, lawyer bios say little or nothing about how you can make a difference in the problem the buyer seeks to solve. Instead, it probably contains a lot of jargon intended to give the reader a sense of what you've accomplished. It's filled with legal practice matter terminology plucked from your firm's internal language; e.g., "litigation," "employment," "M&A," and so on. 

These empty expressions really undermine your bio. They're boring, and they sell you short, especially the two most frequently-used verbs, i.e., "handled" or "involved in." For example, "Ms. Jones has handled important cross-border transactions..." or "...has been involved in significant cases before state and federal courts...." 

So, what does it mean, exactly, to have handled something? Or, to be involved in it? 

"Handled" cheats you out of any impact that your actions may have created. At its worst, "involved in" could mean you were merely in the room. (Think about all the resumes you've seen from green lawyers, citing all the things they were "involved in" at a career stage when they were unlikely to have done anything meaningful.) 

These expressions are facile; they're a form of shorthand among lawyers. Notwithstanding their convenience, they suffer two serious and unnecessary shortcomings: 

  • You'll sound just like everyone else, which completely defeats any attempt at differentiation. 
  • Lawyer-centric language doesn't communicate with anyone outside the Law Department, and may have no meaning at all for the operating executives who have an important stake in your Door-Opener, i.e., the business problem that drives demand for your services.

Starting with your bio, stop using language that makes you sound like an expediter ("handle") or a hanger-on ("involved"). Replace these boring terms with clear language that communicates what you actually do to produce the results that cause your clients to return to you, and that motivate prospects to consider you. 

Here's a simple yet reliable test: Does the expression enable you to visualize the impact you delivered? If not, you're being abstract, and forfeiting any chance for it to resonate with those you're trying to influence. 

Mike O'Horo

Want to learn how to generate business reliably, in a way that prospects prefer to engage with you? Want to learn in 15-30-minute chunks, at your convenience, anytime, anywhere, from any computer? Check out RainmakerVT's online business development programs, created specifically for lawyers (and loved by them).

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