Posted by: johnocunningham | July 19, 2013

Lawyer Images and Advertising: STILL Dull

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?”

Because this piece attracted quite a few hits, and because I was recently thumbing through the 2013 New Jersey edition of “New York’s Best Lawyers,” I thought I would provide an update on how far we have come (or failed to come) in legal advertising and imaging.

After reviewing only the “group shots” of law firms that appeared in the referenced magazine, I compiled a list of the mostly stock images I saw (which are pretty much the same images I saw two years ago):

1. There were 10 images of lawyers in very dark suits in their very nice conference rooms.

2. There were 7 images of lawyers in very dark suits in their libraries full of learned books.

3. There were 4 images of lawyers in very dark suits in their reception areas (some next to the name of the firm on the wall).

4. There was one image of lawyers in very dark suits on a very dark staircase of a very old and dark building with rich, finished bronze touches.

Those 22 shots were pretty predictably drab, but the other relatively “creative” ones were not exactly compelling me to read the printed text about their firms either. Among the images in that group were the following:

1. An image of lawyers in very dark suits overlaid in front of a shot of New York’s harbor with the Statue of Liberty in the background (this at least caught my eye, though it had nothing to do with the firm’s business, which at first I thought might have to do with immigration).

2. An image of lawyers with some actually authentic looking smiles standing outside with some park area in the background and presumably their office building behind that, though I could not tell, and had really no idea from the image what they do.

3. An image of lawyers, not all in suits, and not all dark looking, but all well dressed, and all standing in various, relaxed ways that looked friendly, super-imposed on a pure white background so that the negative space drew my eyes into looking at the lawyers, themselves (but again, with no suggestion at all of what they do).

4. An image of three women lawyers (small firm – all women partners) in front of some colorful pictures of plants, which I thought might be great if they represent botanists or maybe plant pharmaceutical companies or maybe greenhouses or companies that make green products (but again, the image had nothing to do with their work).

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 “Have You Seen Our Ads” after clicking on this link. The firm of Bingham McCutchen, really knows how to do PR and advertising. (NOTE: Bingham McCutchen is not a client of mine and has not provided any compensation for this favorable mention).


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