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When scanning your colleagues LinkedIn profile, have you ever noticed some summarize their accomplishments using the third person, rather than first? The same can be said for the communication outlined in the “About Us” section on your law firm’s website. In a recent article by Stem Legal, Jordan Furlong argues that lawyers need to stop using third person and start using “I” when writing their bios.
Furlong explains that law is a business based on relationships and that the best relationships are “made directly, between two people who are open and honest with each other.” He points out that by writing in third person, it creates distance between the lawyer and the client. It also creates distance between the lawyer and the qualities listed. He uses the following bios to help illustrate his point:
“Gary is a partner with Parable & Metaphor LLP. He focuses his practice on business law, serving clients in the manufacturing and recycling sectors in areas such as environmental compliance and new product development. An avid golfer, he enjoys traveling and spending time with his family.”
“I’ve been a partner with Parable & Metaphor LLP for six years. I help clients in the manufacturing and recycling sectors with a wide range of business law matters. I make sure they comply with environmental regulations and help them develop new products for their markets. I love to play golf, ideally while travelling across the country with my wife and three kids.”
Furlong points out that the second bio encourages more details which in turn promotes openness and engagement between the two sides. He notes:
“The first one reads like a cookie-cutter description of Any Lawyer Esq., or maybe a testimonial elicited under some level of duress. There’s a stiffness and distance about third-person biographies that’s unconsciously off-putting to the reader or listener, and it’s completely unnecessary.”
Furlong ultimately urges lawyers to “own the details of your life and career with pride and enthusiasm.” So instead of writing in third person, be yourself and give your clients and colleagues an idea of who you really are, and, in my opinion, the same can be said for your LinkedIn profile.
The trend of third-person writing is long gone. People want personalization. But third-person introductions are really formal. After all, it is an introduction. So it is really important to analyze first your client type and then decide on which path to take!