February 24, 2020

February 24, 2020

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Legal Marketing: Top 25 Law Firm Website Clichés to Avoid, part 2

With their hard-earned reputations, top lawyers have nothing to prove. But bad marketing doesn’t hurt them as much as it does most other firms.  But keep reading if your firm doesn’t yet possess a Wachtellian level of credibility.

So here they are, the second part of the 25 most typical and tedious photos law firms use — followed by what I think these icons actually convey to the average website visitor.

11.  [The Image:] Scales of justice (Similar scales are also used by drug dealers)

Scales, Justice

[What it means:]  “Still just lawyers.”

12.  Dart boards (often showing three darts in the bullseye)

We’re on target.”

13.  DNA/Test tube/beaker/gears/CD

“We have an intellectual property practice.”

14.  Books (always with striped spines)

“This might be 2016, but we still use books.”

(The Small-Firm Trifecta is when there’s (1) a gavel resting on (2) the book, alongside (3) a scale.)

Legal, Books

15.  Computer (Tablets and smartphones also count)

“Look! We use computers!” 

(Check the monitor to see if it’s running Word Perfect.)

16.  Eyeglasses or pen on a document

“We work on paper documents.”


17.  Boxing gloves

“We’re actual trial lawyers, not paper-pushing discovery jockies.”

18.  Man/Woman walking, in suits

“That’s our profession’s action shot.”

(We’re lawyers.  We walk.)

19.  Vacant lobby/Conference room

“We have beautiful furniture.”

(Actually, “It’s 5:01.  You could safely shoot a cannon down the main hallway.”)

Vacant, Lobby

20.  Blurry man running up steps

“We’re fast-paced, dynamic lawyers.”

(Actually, “Out of my way!  I’m late for court!”)

21.  Rowing

“We work as a team!”

(Violinists also work.)

Rowing, Team

22.  Crayons/Flags/Circle of hands


(But since we don’t actually have any, here’s a bunch of colored pencils.)

23.  Grinning personal injury or divorce lawyer

“We’re lawyers.”

(Actually, “Lost a limb?  Wife left you?  Glad I’m not you. Cheese!“)

24.  Cheetah 

“We move fast.  Look, here’s a fast thing.

Cheetah, Speed

25.  Maze

“We solve puzzles.”

(A Rubik’s Cube is popular too.)

The fact that you immediately recognized all or most of these, and perhaps laughed uncomfortably at a few of them, proves that these images have lost their impact.  So, if you’re using any of these in your marketing materials, from website or blog to print ads or brochures, stop immediately.

Perhaps you could change your tag line to “Average skills. Average price.TM  Or, preferably, come up with something that really sets you apart.  Create something else, something great.  Something that helps you stand out in a way that generates real revenue. If you can’t do it, hire someone who can.  But it must be done, it’s important.

Figure out who you really are, then build your marketing around that. 

Part 1 is available here.

© 2020 Fishman Marketing


About this Author

Ross Fishman legal marketing expert  Fishman Marketing

Fishman Marketing develops the legal profession's most-effective brands and websites. Called “one of the leading experts on law firm marketing” by Lawyers Weekly, Ross helps firms dominate their markets and generate revenue. FM has designed 200+ marketing campaigns and taught 10,000 lawyers worldwide how to generate new business.

A former litigator and...