Stock photos – the generic face of today’s law firm


I’m no branding expert, but I know when something’s wrong. And I see a lot of things wrong with the websites of law firms out there.

When you want to stand out, it’s counterintuitive to plaster your website and promotional materials with the same default stock image of a lawyer or other professional in a fricking dark suit.

That girl             her again

But it happens ALL … THE … TIME.

There’s nothing quite like a sea of generic looking websites all selling legal services that look so similar you can’t tell them apart. Firms (or their web designers) seem to have a love of insipid, lifeless and inaccessibly corporate stock photos (usually one of the brunettes above) plastered across their sites as though it’s a badge of honour.

I saw an ad in the Metro the other day (yes, the Metro!!) for a firm whose strapline was, “no ordinary law firm”. Naturally it featured a generic stock photo of (you guessed) that same brunette in a dark suit. Ordinary?  Ordinary? Well, maybe their legal services aren’t, but their ads certainly are.

Where’s the personality gone? Lawyers might not be the most photogenic bunch, but surely the staff of a firm can’t be so un-photogenic that they simply cannot be shown to prospective clients under any circumstances.

Yep, I realise people move on and firms don’t want to be put to the hassle and expense of updating their images whenever a key member of staff leaves, but they can still be used for the background, ‘atmospheric’ shots (you know, of the team hard at work trying to win their client’s medical negligence case like it’s the only file they’ve got open).

I just give up.


  1. Hmm, if you put pictures of some of the lawyers I knew on the front of their websites, they'd be out of business in no time...

  2. How about bringing in a style guru and giving all the fee earners a 'once over' before the photographer gets his camera out? ;-)

    They can't be *that* dishevelled / disreputable surely, John? :p

    1. These are the same law firms that will happily give a murder a haircut before the jury sees him. I don't understand it myself.

      There's a fantastic example in a decent sized Glasgow firm where they have a little photo of the lawyer and a bio which includes what they work as, what they specialise in, how long they've been working and, for example, what football team they support. I think it's a great human touch.

  3. Stephen - good to hear from you.

    Hadn't heard about murderers getting their locks cut prior to giving their performance in the dock! What's wrong with just advising them to put a tie on like the old days?

    The Glasgow firm you mentioned sounds like they 'get' branding in a way that that's scarily rare.

    Btw, what happened to your blog? :-0

  4. My lot had proper photos done for the website (in moody black and white, or course), but the approach has been to only use an "interesting" aspect of their photo as a thumbnail.

    This means that they are represented by thumbnails of their eye, nose, mouth, hairline, necklace, tie, a shoulder, or in one case, an ear.

  5. Ooh - you can't beat the moody black and white ones. Very creative.

    The thumbnail selection sounds awful. I wonder if it gave any of them complexes over their "part" in question. A girl with a big nose or chap with a receding hairline, for instance. Thank God they're not the type to sue anyone... ;-)


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