This afternoon, several of us travelled to SODO to have professional headshots taken for our website. As we were riding to the studio I was thinking to myself, “how can a single photo capture everything we want to communicate to a potential new client?” How can a photo communicate that we are caring and compassionate people who genuinely care about our clients and at the same time that we are dedicated, experienced and tenacious advocates for our clients?
Should we smile? Most of our clients have never had to deal with a lawyer. They’ve been in a car accident or some other kind of incident, and they are hurt and scared. They may be forced to take time off from work and they are having difficulty taking care of their families. They are caught up in a system they don’t understand and the insurance companies won’t do anything to help. These people need a welcoming face to reassure them that everything will be ok. They need to know that their lawyer understands what they are going through and that he is on their side. They need a smile.
But maybe we should look more serious. A serious face communicates that we won’t let the insurance company play games with our client’s rights. We take the wellbeing of our personal injury clients seriously and when the insurance company tries to cheat or skirt the rules, we won’t hesitate to slam them. We love what we do, but our clients want to know that we take their claims seriously. What we are doing is real life. This is not fun and games. So perhaps we should put on more of a game face.
The reality is, a single portrait simply can’t communicate everything we need to say to our clients. One photo can’t express how much we care. Nor can it explain how hard we will fight to get justice for our clients. If that is so, then what is the point of a headshot at all? I have concluded that the professional headshot is an introduction. It’s a hello before we meet. It’s a first impression. I don’t know about you, but when I meet a person for the first time I usually look them in the eye and smile because I am genuinely happy to meet them.
I haven’t had an opportunity to look at the images that were shot today, but I expect the one I do select will have a smile on my face. I love what I do and I am genuinely happy. I love helping hurt and frightened people through the difficult process of a personal injury claim and fighting – joyfully – to get them justice. If you know me, you probably know that I’m smiling most of the time. So, while I haven’t selected the final headshot yet, it’s a good bet that I’ll be smiling. And that will be the genuine face of THIS lawyer.