Posted by: johnocunningham | June 28, 2011

Why Do Most Super Lawyers Look Super-Dull?

After perusing more than a hundred photos of super lawyers and their super firms in the pages of various large-city magazines, I decided to analyze why they all looked the same to me (with a few excellent exceptions).

So I categorized the types of images used by law firms who advertised in these publications, and tabulated them. Here are the results:

  • The largest percentage of law firm shots (33 percent) fell into the category of “dark-suited lawyers arranged in semi-circles in conference rooms” (with just a few women in bright colored suits sticking out like, well, like people);
  • The next largest percentage (22 percent) fell into the category of “lawyers in front of iconic legal images – capitol buildings or courthouses”;
  • Another well-populated group (16 percent) fell into the category of “lawyers posed in the reception area next to the firm’s name on a wall”;
  • The next biggest group (14 percent) fell into the category of “dark-suited lawyers in dark wood libraries with lots of books”; and
  • The last “clump” (6 percent) came under the heading of “lawyers in front of Constitution or other historic document.”

That totals more than 90 percent who went for the cliche icons that say “we are smart” (see our books) or “we are proud of our name” (see the name on the wall) or “we are powerful” (see us at the court or the capitol) or “we have a huge and impressive conference room.”

But other super lawyer firms did a super job of creating memorable images that really stuck with me. For the benefit of my fellow marketing pros, I thought I should share some of the following crafty ideas that stuck with me:

  • An image of a group of IP lawyers suspended in space and linked to each other with lines, like atoms in an organic molecule;
  • An image of a group of lawyers who specialize in transportation industry work in front of a train that is hauling, among other things, motor vehicles; or
  • An image of four lawyers in a small IP and entertainment firm walking across a road, harkening back to the Abby Road album cover.

I know it can be hard to get some groups of lawyers to stretch beyond their comfort zones, but really it is in their best interest if you can come up with an image that is:

  • Distinctive;
  • Memorable; and
  • Related to their practice (or their critical messaging).

For more examples of great law firm advertising, click on the image that says “See our ads” after clicking on this link. The firm of Bingham McCutchen, really knows how to do PR and advertising.



  1. […] Just barely over two years ago, I wrote a post for this blog about lawyers needing to use more tactical creativity in their photo images and advertising entitled, “Why Do Most Super-Lawyers Look Super Dull?” […]

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