Does Your Legal Marketing Need to Be ... Adorkable?

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on January 14, 2016 12:59 PM

Well, this is a trend we weren't anticipating. According to Above the Law, the new biggest thing in attorney advertising is "adorkableness."

That's a portmanteau of "adorable" and "dork," if you missed it. And it's apparently replacing cheesy catchphrases and family dogs -- or worse, campy explosions -- as the new legal marketing trend.

Adorkawhatnow?

Adorkableness isn't exactly new. It's been a common trope in television and movies for years now. Adorkable characters are shy, clumsy, or awkward (the dork part) but also sweet and endearing (the adorable half). Some examples are the cast of 'Big Bang Theory' or pretty much every character Zooey Deschanel has ever played. If you've seen Amelie, both Amelie and Nino are pretty adorkable.

Such characters are meant to be inviting and nonthreatening. But the style doesn't often make its way into lawyer marketing.

To be fair, Above the Law may be exaggerating a smidge when they call adorkableness the "latest trend in attorney advertising." They're really talking about just one series of ads, for Texas lawyer John Kim. And it is adorkable.

Kim takes the typical attorney bravado -- he's "smart like a fox" and one of the "five or ten best cross examiners" -- but contrasts the brags with simple, child-like animation.

An Adorkable Brand

Is the adorkable style for everyone? No, absolutely not. Sure, some clients will be drawn in by the playful nature of such ads. But not all. (We'd hate to see an adorkable ad for wrongful death attorneys, for instance.)

Even some of John Kim's ads don't strike the right note. His "Lawyer for GCs," video, for example, seems a bit too cutesy for corporate lawyers looking for outside counsel.

But, whether you love adorkable ads or not, Kim is doing something absolutely right: branding. The distinctive feeling of his ads positions him in a unique place in the market, setting him apart from other trial attorneys not just in substance but in style.

And it's nice to see a lawyer set themselves apart by toning down their legal persona a bit, instead of notching things up. There's already a glut of "law hawks" and crime-fighting Jamie Casinos on the market.

Need help with your legal marketing, adorkable or otherwise? Let the experts at FindLaw's Lawyer Marketing lend a hand.

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