My Shingle

I’m A Smiling Lawyer – Are You?

by Carolyn Elefant on June 29, 2005 · 4 comments

in MyShingle Solo

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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. 

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  • http://njeminentdomain.com Susan

    Smiles win over the serious look. I come to legal marketing by way of the classical music world, and in every headshot, serious musicians smile. You want to connect with your audience (jury), your auditioner (prospective client). You’re affable and confident, so you can afford to smile. Solos and boutiques should put on a friendly face.

  • http://njeminentdomain.com Susan

    Smiles win over the serious look. I come to legal marketing by way of the classical music world, and in every headshot, serious musicians smile. You want to connect with your audience (jury), your auditioner (prospective client). You’re affable and confident, so you can afford to smile. Solos and boutiques should put on a friendly face.

  • Stuart

    It might work for females quite well but for males with male judges they might interpret it as slyness or mocking. Its harder for males to come off as “charming” in court, at least in my experience.

  • Stuart

    It might work for females quite well but for males with male judges they might interpret it as slyness or mocking. Its harder for males to come off as “charming” in court, at least in my experience.

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