I’ve always been a smiling lawyer. During the later round of my first year moot court competition (where I made it, out of 80 students, to the finals!), one of the judges told me that he appreciated my smile when I started my argument and since then, I’ve always smiled in court, to juries and even lawyers who I absolutely can’t stand. I smile in my website photo and other news photos (except one hideous picture that appeared in the ABA journal because the photographer told me that the Journal editors would prefer a serious shot). I find the smile particularly effective with dour judges because it disarms them and I can take advantage without having to be particularly aggressive or rude. And smiling forces you to feel happy even when you’re not.
Turns out, my smiling may be good for business as well. In this post at Start Up Nation (thanks, Lexthink), Joel Welsh encourages business owners to "hire the ones that smile." I know that many clients might prefer a scowling, angry lawyer to a smiling one, but that’s not necessarily the type of client who I want to attract. I’d rather target those clients who want the smiling lawyer – me.