You are here:
  1. Home
  2. News
  3. Blog
  4. Why lawyers are boring at parties

Why lawyers are boring at parties

17 December 2015

Alex Barr writes about how your opening gambit at parties can influence your bottom line.

Lots of us who work in professional services struggle with the part of a social or business conversation that starts with 'So, what do you do?'. This is particularly relevant at the moment - during the party-laden festive season.

Answering it tends to kill the conversation. There's a reason for this; we default to the job title. We worked hard to become qualified, and because it's what everyone else in our profession says to describe what they do, we say it too.

‘I’m an intellectual property lawyer’.

Wow. Now there’s a statement that kills a conversation. To be clear, I’m not just picking on lawyers - it's the same for accountants, teachers, doctors and most other jobs you can think of. Accepting that very few of us are lucky enough to do something that sounds cool at first glance (dolphin trainer? astronaut?) how should we, as lawyers, address this? 

How about mentioning that ‘Our firm prides itself on customer service and was founded in 1836’?

No. This is worse. Ever met a law firm that doesn’t pride itself on customer service? And by mentioning when the firm was founded, you inevitably come across like your firm has barely moved on from the Georgian era.

What you qualified as is less interesting than the outcome you give your clients.

This isn’t some kind of awful sales pitch, marketing gimmick or mission statement. It’s just a simple way of being proud of what you actually do for your clients, and concisely putting that information across to new people.  

How about an example? Compare ‘I’m an intellectual property lawyer’ to 'I help clients protect and make money from the things they create'.  Which of those statements would get more interest at a party (or from a client)?

I used to think this idea applied only to commercial legal services, but I recently had a very dapper criminal defence solicitor prove me wrong. He told me that he got bored of having ‘the wrong conversations’ with people when he said what he did for a living. He now tells people at weddings that he ‘works to protect civil rights’ and tells clients that he 'works to stop clients from being abused by the criminal justice system'. Both are accurate, both are concise and they are tailored to the target audience.

Think about the outcome you give your clients - it’s all they care about. Using this language will make you more interesting on your website, on email shots, in telemarketing – and at parties too.

For more bespoke advice or for help getting new clients, visit Risk and Compliance Advisory Service.

Take our Christmas quiz 

Tags: strategy | brand

About the author

Alex Barr is the founder of GenLead, Law Society Consulting's chosen telemarketing partner. With a background of over 20 years of business development within professional services and outsourcing, GenLead provides professional service firms with both a steady stream of new clients and the insight to drive change.

  • Share this page:

Adam Johnson | Adele Edwin-Lamerton | Ahmed Aydeed | Alex Barr | Alex Heshmaty | Alexa Lemzy | Alexandra Cardenas | Amanda Adeola | Amanda Carpenter | Amanda Jardine Viner | Amy Bell | Amy Heading | an anonymous sole practitioner | Andrew Kidd | Andrew McWhir | Andy Harris | Anna Drozd | Annaliese Fiehn | Anne Morris | Anne Waldron | anonymous female solicitor | Asif Afridi and Roseanne Russell | Bansi Desai | Barbara Whitehorne | Barry Wilkinson | Becky Baker | Ben Hollom | Bhavisha Mistry | Bob Nightingale | Bridget Garrood | Caroline Marlow | Caroline Roddis | Caroline Sorbier | Carolyn Pepper | Catherine Dixon | Chris Claxton-Shirley | Christina Blacklaws | Ciaran Fenton | CV Library | Daniel Matchett | Daphne Perry | David Gilroy | David Yeoward | Douglas McPherson | Duncan Wood | Elijah Granet | Emily Miller | Emily Powell | Emma Maule | Floyd Porter | Gary Richards | Gary Rycroft | Graham Murphy | Gustavo Bussmann | Hayley Stewart | Hilda-Georgina Kwafo-Akoto | Ignasi Guardans | James Castro Edwards | Jane Cassell | Jayne Willetts | Jeremy Miles | Jerry Garvey | Jessie Barwick | Joe Egan | Jonathan Andrews | Jonathan Fisher | Jonathan Smithers | Jonathon Bray | Julian Hall | Julie Ashdown | Julie Nicholds | Justin Rourke | Karen Jackson | Kate Adam | Katherine Cousins | Kaweh Beheshtizadeh | Kayleigh Leonie | Keiley Ann Broadhead | Kerrie Fuller | Kevin Hood | Kevin Poulter | Larry Cattle | Laura Bee | Laura Devine | Laura Uberoi | Leah Glover and Julie Ashdown | Leanne Yendell | LHS Solicitors | Linden Thomas | Lucy Parker | Maria Shahid | Marjorie Creek | Mark Carver | Mark Leiser | Markus Coleman | Martin Barnes | Mary Doyle | Matt Oliver | Matthew Still | Max Rossiter | Melissa Hardee | Neil Ford | Nick Denys | Nick O'Neill | Nick Podd | Nikki Alderson | Oz Alashe | Patrick Wolfe | Paul Rogerson | Pearl Moses | Penny Owston | Peter Wright | Philippa Southwell | Preetha Gopalan | Prof Sylvie Delacroix | Rachel Brushfield | Rafie Faruq | Ranjit Uppal | Ravi Naik | Remy Mohamed | Richard Collier | Richard Coulthard | Richard Heinrich | Richard Mabey | Richard Messingham | Richard Miller | Richard Roberts | Rob Cope | Robert Bourns | Robin Charrot | Rosa Coleman | Rosy Rourke | Saida Bello | Sally Azarmi | Sally Woolston | Sam De Silva | Sara Chandler | Sarah Austin | Sarah Crowe | Sarah Henchoz | Sarah Smith | Shereen Semnani | Shirin Marker | Siddique Patel | Simon Day | Sofia Olhede | Sonia Aman | Sophia Adams Bhatti | Sophie O'Neill-Hanson | Steve Deutsch | Steve Thompson | Stuart Poole-Robb | Sue James | Susan Kench | Suzanne Gallagher | The Law Society Digital and Brand team | Tom Chapman | Tom Ellen | Tony Roe Solicitors | Tracey Calvert | Umar Kankiya | Vanessa Friend | Vicki Butler | Vidisha Joshi | William Li | William McSweeney