September 29, 2017
There isn’t a lot of “do it yourself” in the world of lawyering.
All these things are imperative to being in business, and they all cost money.
There is at least one easy-peasy “Esq. DIY” out there, though: your letterhead.
If you’re like a lot of firms, letterhead is an unnecessary expense that’s been in your budget for years.
Assuming you already have a logo (and we’ll take up at that issue in just a moment), there is absolutely no reason for paying someone else to design, print, or ship your law firm letterhead. It’s an old-fashioned idea from the days when printers still needed perforated paper.
The reality is that the everyday technology already sitting on your desk is more than sufficient for knocking your attorney letterhead out of the park. By doing it yourself, you can put those resources elsewhere — and in today’s article, we’re going to explain how. But first: why.
The issue of first impressions is hardly, well, “an issue of first impressions.”
You’ve heard other people talk about how important your firm’s first blush is before, so we won’t parrot them.
Consider, though, how many people will form their first impression of your law firm based entirely on your letterhead:
Attorney letterhead needs to look modern and professional — impressive, yes, but not antiquated or austere.
It needs to contain all the essential information but none of the “extra stuff” that might serve only to get responses sent to the wrong place. (No one wants to tell a client that the answer to their demand letter went to your other office in another city!)
Even more importantly, letterhead needs to comply with all of the state bar’s ethics rules, which always seem to have more to say about letterhead than you might expect.
“If letterhead is so important,” you might ask, “isn’t that something I should pay to get right?”
Like anyone who spends a decent amount of time around attorneys, we’ll answer that question with a question:
“If you can get it right yourself, why should you pay for it?”
Mind you, we don’t always advise doing it on your own. In fact, we recently explained why attorneys shouldn’t write their own content and how hiring someone to manage your PPC campaigns can reduce your proximity to web users.
So there are some things you should entrust to the professionals. Incidentally, your law firm logo is one of those.
The logo is your letterhead’s calling card. It packs the biggest visual punch, and that makes it the very essence of the first impression. It’s the part you really want to get right. And the truth? You won’t do it as well as someone who designs graphics and logos for a living.
If you’re redesigning your website (a service we happen to offer, by the way), a new law firm logo can be part of that.
But if you’re simply looking for a little inspiration in the meantime, we recently shared three awesome design tips for law firm logos (along with more than 50 of our favorite examples).
Either way, be sure you get a great logo to build your brand with and then enter the DIY phase of letterhead-ing. Simply make your logo the letterhead’s centerpiece… or left-align piece, as might be the case (more on that below.)
The header is a special space at the very top of a Microsoft Word document reserved for introductory information, and it’s the perfect place for a lawyer’s letterhead.
You probably already know the gist of how headers work, but in case you need a quick refresher:
You don’t have to use headers to make attorney letterhead, but that’s the approach we recommend, and it’s the one we’ll use below.
Is Plug & Play more your style? If so, look no further. For the no-fuss firm professional who wants new letterhead lickety-split, check out these five fantastic templates. They’re all straightforward, made specifically for Word, and are ready to go in mere minutes:
Remember: letterhead can be “letterside” or “letterfoot!” Feel free to make use of the footer and the left-side margin (as in Example #5 above) to create a visual style that fits your brand.
And one final tip: get a good printer and paper. Heavy-stock paper will make your letterhead look better, and a higher-end printer will give it that extra shine.
Most correspondence is done electronically these days, meaning you can stretch the cost of stationery a lot further, so go ahead and upgrade to higher-quality paper.
Deciding on attorney letterhead is probably the simplest marketing task a law firm will ever face, and even that takes more time and attention than you probably care for.
We get it. Lawyers are supposed to be lawyers, not marketers, and yet marketing is essential for building a business and then growing your practice. Black Fin can help.
We’re a team of legal market experts, and we’ve devoted our entire business exclusively to attorney marketing. In fact, we’ve spent years at the top spot on Google for Attorney SEO, and just recently, Inc.com recognized us as one of the fastest-growing, privately owned companies in America.
Whether it’s web design, a new logo, SEO, PPC advertising, or just a general desire to get bigger cases and better clients, Black Fin has proven strategies and a record of success. Contact us today to learn how we can get you where you want to be.