Attorneys Should NOT Write Website Copy (and Here’s Why)

Robbie Richards
May 25, 2018

“All attorneys are writers” is one of those phrases that is part truth, part myth.

Here’s the deal:

Every day you write a lot of content. And, you’re probably really good at it.

But, this doesn’t mean you should be writing copy for your website, SEO, landing pages and PPC campaigns. In fact, we strongly recommend you don’t, for these 3 reasons why:

#1. The Opportunity Cost

You didn’t go to law school for a Juris Doctorate to sit around and write web copy. 

I know what you’re thinking, “my expertise and passion is exactly why I should write the web copy.”

You’re the expert, right?

True. But, as with anything, there is a big opportunity cost that comes with lawyers writing web copy. Time is money, and yours is extremely valuable. It should be dedicated to the business activities only you can handle:

  • Writing briefs
  • Running depositions
  • Appearing in court
  • Submitting appeals
  • Winning cases…

Whatever it is – your time is best spent doing the things you are an expert at. The highest revenue drivers. If you’re spending countless hours figuring out how to do keyword research, build sitemaps, write high-converting ad copy, and wrestling with technical site issues, it quickly turns into a cost center. You’ll end up frustrated, and leave a lot of money on the table.

Stop the DIY marketing approach and get back to the high ROI activities – working (and closing) cases.

#2. Legal copy ≠ Web Content

Not all copy is created equal.

When it comes to producing high-converting web copy, technical legal jargon doesn’t cut it. One of the mistakes we see lawyers make all the time is writing for other lawyers. While this might come naturally, it isn’t positioned to your target audience (i.e. the people who are going to actually hire you to manage their case). 

In the competitive legal industry, consumers have a long list of options when it comes to choosing representation. If they land on your site and can’t quickly understand if you offer the services they need and are the best solution, they’ll quickly bounce away from your site and go to the competition.

The end result? Wasted traffic. Lost leads. And, a lot of potential revenue down the chute.

There is a science behind writing copy that turns web traffic into dollars. You need to factor in everything from audience personas and keywords to content formatting and user experience. Get one piece of the content puzzle wrong, and the rest won’t work.

The cost of bad copy extends far beyond the website. Another area where poor copy can cost lawyers a lot of money is legal PPC campaigns.

For example, accident attorneys will often spend anywhere from $80-$200 for a click in the Google ad auction, depending on the targeting and location. If you’re sending traffic from ads to landing pages with poorly optimized copy, you’re essentially pouring money into a leaking bucket. A lot of money in, very little out. And, the story holds strong for practically every form of online, and offline marketing.

It pays in more way than one to have professionals experienced in writing high-converting copy produce content for your website and ad campaigns.

#3. Let Professionals Be Professionals

As an attorney, you’ve probably come across those people who “don’t need a lawyer” because they “almost went to law school” or have a relative who “knows how the system works”. These people almost always lose in court without the guidance of a professional attorney.

The same principle holds true when it comes to web copy. SEO teams with trained legal copywriters are a double threat – they know how to write content that ranks, and sell your services. This is the key to generating passive case leads for your practice. 

Still, Insist on Writing Copy?

Still, want to handle the copy for your website and marketing campaigns?

Here are 7 simple tips to get you the best results in the shortest period of time: 

  1. Always start with the end goal: This will almost always be generating form fills and phone calls. But, to get to that end goal you’re going to need to clarify several important questions: Who are your potential clients? What are their pain points? What questions will they need answered? Why would someone hire your firm over another? What is the main call-to-action?
  2. Write for the layman: You have to write for your target audience. As you probably know, people have a natural aversion to attorneys. Old stereotypes are hard to break, and if people come to your site and are greeted with dense, hard-to-understand “legal speak”, they are going to be turned off and run for the hills, or your competition. Bring the copy down from law school to an 8th-grade level.
  3. Offer solution-based services: This goes hand-in-hand with the point above. Drop the legal jargon and focus all your copy on the needs of the end user. Remember, the primary purpose of web copy is to attract, persuade and convert readers into customers.
  4. Keep it personal: Try to infuse your personality into the copy. Make it easy for people to connect with and like you. Always consider the emotional state of readers when they land on your page. People do business with people they know, like and trust.
  5. Be available: This one is more about engagement. But, people are going to have a lot of questions. Make sure you are answering all the most common questions, objections, and obstacles in your service page copy. This will help visitors more quickly realize they are in the right place, and it quickly positions you as a trusted adviser.

  6. Get a copy review: Let someone read your content before posting it. Preferably someone who is not a legal profession. Ask them if the content makes sense, and if it’s easy to understand. Ask them what questions they would have after reading. Use the insights to simplify the messaging and fill content gaps before publishing online.
  7. Map keywords to content: This one is huge. In order to drive passive case leads to your practice, you need to optimize your content to show up in the search engines when people are searching for the services you offer. Keyword research is a deep topic and one that is beyond the scope of this post. But, a quick way to see which keywords to optimize your content around is to enter your main keyword into Google and see which terms show up in the Autocomplete and Related Search areas. You can also use the Keywords Everywhere chrome extension to get search volume and CPC estimates to gauage traffic potential commercial value of the keywords. Once you have a small set of keywords, make sure you are incorporating variations into key on-page areas – title tag, headers, and body copy.


Hire Someone With Experience

Legal copy rarely turns readers into paying customers.

Instead of spending hours researching, writing and editing web copy, direct it towards the high-value activities only you can handle – closing cases. Let our team of SEO experts handle the copy so you can get back to running your practice.

If you still insist on writing the copy yourself, follow the tips above to get it going in the right direction.