You want your blog to seem professional, to demonstrate your legal expertise and experience to your readers. That means humor has no place on your website, right? Maybe not. A recent ABA Journal article suggests that maybe your blog posts are too serious.
I get it. Not everyone can be funny. And jokes — especially puns and the dreaded “dad jokes” — don’t always go over well with every audience. If you aren’t naturally a funny person, I can’t blame you for taking a serious tone in your blog. But maybe you should consider finding ways to bring in a little humor after all.
ABA Journal Focuses on Laughter At Work
Lawyers — especial women lawyers — can take themselves far too seriously sometimes. We are afraid that potential clients, judges, and opposing counsel may see us as amateurish or irresponsible if we smile, or Heaven forbid we laugh during a client meeting or in-chambers conference.
But Stephanie Francis Ward of the American Bar Association Journal recently posted a podcast, Why laughter belongs in your work life, emphasizing the importance of laughter in the law office. She interviewed Roberta “Bobbi” Liebenberg, a senior partner at Fine Kaplan and Black, and former chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the profession. Ward reported “Humor plays a significant role in defusing tension that comes with practicing law.” But many law firms overlook its usefulness. Liebenberg said:
“The research shows that people who are humorous are consistently evaluated as being more confident and more competent,” she says.
Should Readers Be Laughing Through Your Blog Posts?
There aren’t a lot of funny areas of law. Personal injury, bankruptcy, and divorce aren’t likely to have potential clients laughing their way into your office. So while humor can convey confidence and competence, it must be used tastefully.
Never suggest that the situation a potential client finds themselves in is funny. I assure you, it isn’t funny to them. But that doesn’t mean you can’t see the humor in parallel situations.
For example, let’s say a recent court decision centered on a car that went through the window at a fast food restaurant. You want to write about the liability of the driver for property damage. You could comment on how the driver “missed the drive through” or “must have really needed that coffee” without coming off as insensitive.
Using humor in your law blogs goes a long way toward making you a person, and not just a suit. It reminds potential clients that you can empathize with them and that you experience both the good and the bad of life. And that could mean the difference between a passing read and a paying client.
Lisa Schmidt is a writer at Legal Linguist in Ferndale, Michigan. She helps law firms and small businesses with blogging and web content. If you need help with meeting your web marketing goals, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.