Denver Bar Association
May 2008
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Attractive Brochures Often Fail to Persuade

by Trey Ryder

Lately I’ve seen several law firm brochures, some very short, others many pages long. They contain a sad consistency. They all look relatively attractive, yet when I read the words, they say almost nothing.

Nearly anyone can create a law firm brochure. And that’s the problem. The term "brochure" is so loose, it can refer to almost anything on paper about your firm.

Many people (including artists and consultants) use this brochure recipe: Start with a pile of photographs in a bowl. Add lawyers’ biographies. Stir in the firm’s practice areas. Print in full color. Bake until the ink dries. And presto: You have a law firm brochure.

The cost? It can be anywhere from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on how big and colorful you want it to be.

But here’s the key question: How well does it communicate your marketing message?

When you create your law firm brochure, your marketing message should have a specific beginning, middle and end. Then you should spread your message throughout the brochure so when someone reads it, they digest your message from beginning to end.

Some lawyers think a brochure is simply bits and snippets about your firm — in no particular order, other than what looks good on paper. The result? A brochure that is made up of bits of information in no particular order about no particular subject. After all, it doesn’t have to be about anything, it’s simply your firm brochure.

What a waste!

If you are fortunate enough to have your prospective client’s attention, you want to deliver your marketing message — a complete, competent and persuasive marketing message. You want you prospect to hire your firm and not even consider hiring anybody else. Yet when your prospect picks up your brochure, he gets a few random facts that form no clear impression in his mind.

What a waste!

Most brochures look great because many are in full color. They may be wonderful coffee table pieces that impress prospects and clients because they look attractive and expensive. But when you get down to brass tacks, you usually find no substance, no marketing message, no compelling reason to hire your firm.

Here’s another trap: Your artist may create a wonderful brochure that doesn’t look like anything you’ve ever seen. As a result, you may wrongly conclude that because it’s different, it’s a powerful marketing document. Not true.

Whose in Hiring Mode?

From Robert Half International

In a national survey by Robert Half International, nearly half (45 percent) of attorneys polled earlier this year anticipate additional hiring at their firms over the next 12 months. Which areas of law will experience the most growth in the next 12 months?

You want your brochure to look good and provide information about your firm. But keep your priorities straight. Written content is everything. It makes no difference how the brochure looks if it doesn’t immediately communicate your competitive advantages — the reasons prospects choose your firm over all others. If you don’t convey that message — immediately and completely — nothing else matters.

Advice: Don’t be quick to hire someone to create a brochure based on what you see they have done for other law firms. Instead, take time to read brochures they have created for others. Does the brochure persuade you to do business with that firm? Is it compelling? Does it provide enough information for you to make a decision to meet with members of the firm?

Beware: Anybody will offer to create a brochure. But unless the brochure contains a powerful marketing argument that explains clearly why prospects should hire you, you’ve wasted your money.Copy always comes first — because without powerful, persuasive copy, your brochure won’t attract new clients.

Trey Ryder can be reached at



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