Fixable Website Mistake #1 is embodied in this image!  It misses the opportunity to immediately energize interest without following the crowd–and maintaining simple visual engagement.  I give an example of a fail. In case you wondered.
All too common, experts and attorneys use the same stock visuals. Literally, relying on stock photography and graphics can produce a graphic impression that’s ubiquitous, when standing out is the goal.  In some cases, images are irrelevant, boring, or even repellent.
Rules of Thumb.  There are few images that immediately say “Medical” and/or “Law” creating a small pool of visual options that easily fall into a cliche if you’re not careful.  This is easier to change than you might think.  Stock imagery can be adapted in Photoshop to take on a different color, cast, orientation or combination with other imagery.
After critiquing dozens of websites, here are a few red flagged for overuse.
Tread Thoughtfully. These are the most common that I recommend against:
  • Gavels
  • Stethoscopes
  • Caduceus
  • Scales of justice
  • Blind Lady Justice (yes, that’s her name)
  • Psychedelic brains
  • Court-like buildings (think Greek columns, marble, majesty: either a courthouse or the Federal Reserve)
  • Skylines. Is where you do business the most important thing about you? If so, go for it.
  • HUGE monitor-dominating images that force you to scroll to find out even your name.
  • Collages of any of the above.
  • And my personal least favorite: Business-suited professionals shaking hands and looking like models, because they are.
Fixable Website Mistake # 2
Portraits:
Portraits are your chance for an attorney to decide how you’ll “play” on the stand. It’s not a beauty contest, it’s a do-you-look-trustworthy “audition.”
Your portrait should never be (a) missing, (b) a selfie, or (c) present off-putting demeanor.  Think about what you see in your patients that tell you they are off-limits. Arms aggressively shielding the chest, forced grins, an unintended grimace, failure to make eye contact. You know the signs and can apply this knowledge to yourself.
The photo should convey you are:
  • knowledgeable
  • trustworthy
  • fair
  • easy to connect with
  • personable
  • of professional demeanor
For forensic psychiatrists and psychologists, you’re up against a jury’s preconceived notion of psychiatrists and psychologists:
  • warm
  • a good listener
  • confident
  • friendly. After all, no one wants to tell their secrets to someone they don’t like.
  • likable
Attorneys know that during cross-examination, opposing counsel’s goal is to goad you to show hostility or defensiveness. Your photo needs to convey you are unlikely to falter.
Secrets to a good photograph:
  • eye contact
  • a smile, or a warm resting face
  • clothing that is professional, but not slick or especially expensive
  • posture and body language consistent with the qualities outlined above
  • your face is in context–a little background makes a flat portrait into a message, whether you’re behind a desk, on the beach, in front of a law library, standing beside something doctorly or legal, even on a witness stand.
  • good lighting. Go to a professional for your photograph. Poor lighting can ruin even the most compelling expression.
Your facial expression isn’t the only feature of an inviting portrait.
Practical details
  • Finding a good local photographer is more than geography. Look at the photographer’s online gallery of business and family portraits. (Almost all photographers have this website feature.) If you don’t like what you see, move on to someone else. Family portraits reveal how the photographer captures warmth and people at ease in their environment.  That subtlety belongs in your photo, in careful proportions.
  • get more than one photograph and in a variety of postures and both full body, partial body, and just your face. This gives you more options later including the chance to present more than one side of your presentation.
  • run the results past clients and friends, get feedback before making your final choice.
  • if you don’t like the photographs, get a different photographer and do it again.
A photograph is one of the most important elements on your website, and everywhere you promote yourself.  Further, your photograph is probably all over the internet, on your social media sites, profiles in professional referral services, and the endless mining of photos that Google does every day.
It’s worth persevering to get the best photo that communicates about you what’s most important.  Check out the “What do you broadcast to attorneys and jurors? under Practical Articles.
Talk with a person who is both skilled in your field, marketing in med-legal, marketing to attorneys (aka juries, judges,) graphic design and photography.
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This is a compilation of portraits from the website of Antwerp law firm Van Goethem. I selected this example because it shows a range of expressions. I only find one I would consider for a forensic psychiatrist or psychologist. Which do you think it is? By no means are any ideal, in my opinion. (Graphic header: compliments of 123rf.com, Satori Studios)
SMLXL

This is a compilation of portraits from the website of Antwerp law firm Van Goethem. I selected this example because it shows a range of expressions. I only find one I would consider for a forensic psychiatrist or psychologist. Which do you think it is? By no means are any ideal, in my opinion.
Graphic header: compliments of 123rf.com, Satori Studios

ForensicExpertPro Practice Development for Expert WitnessesBeryl Vaughan, Consultant | Nationwide + California HQ

Email us go@forensicexpertpro.com or Call (415) 302-9589

 
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