How Law Firms Can Use Humor in Marketing

Humor is abundant in today’s advertising. Brands and businesses look for ways to be relatable to consumers, and to make their products or services memorable and desirable. What better way to convince someone that your services are worth their time and money than a good laugh?

You may be wondering how you can incorporate humor into your law firm’s marketing strategies in an effective way.

Humor can boost any law firm’s engagement and can be a surefire way to get views, likes, and shares. But one has to use humor correctly, especially in this field, where people are trusting your law firm with pretty serious matters.

When used in the right way, it can make substantial differences in the engagement with your audience and can help to grow your firm with more employees and more clients.

Even though the advantages of utilizing humor in your law firm marketing are plenty, it’s a tricky tool.

While it can make clients feel more at ease and more willing to connect with your firm, it can be harmful when done in poor taste. It has the potential to harm your reputation/image and damage the trust future clients may have in your firm.

Here’s how you can use it to your advantage, and successfully walk the thin line of humor in marketing.

Does humor even have place in a law firm?

Arguably, humor has a place anywhere. Of course, there are dire situations where a laugh isn’t necessary. The world of law holds the reputation of being intimidating. Because of this, most practice areas can get away with a joke or two. It will get clients to feel a little more relaxed about their situation.

Humor can make your law firm stand out and be memorable. People will be able to recall where to turn when they are in need of the services you provide.

All you have to make sure of is that these jokes are done tastefully and used in the right situations.

Law is very much an important industry that should be taken seriously; as lawyers or law firm owners, you already know this, and most likely your clients do too. But there are ways to respect this gravity while still incorporating humor.

Humor diffuses this cloud of fear and intimidation that surrounds your lawyers. It makes your firm more approachable.

Jacob Sanders, a legal marketer featured on the Answering Legal website, has a powerful quote in the defense of using humor in law firm marketing: “Humor isn’t great because it’s just funny, or true, or stupid, or false–humor works because it’s an EMOTION. Emotions are powerful communication devices in advertising because they cause a reaction to take place in the audience’s minds… Once you’re there, inside their heads, it’ll be way easier to communicate your brand message, and it’s more likely to stay there.”

Sanders isn’t spouting nonsense: scholarly journal Frontiers in Psychology published an article detailing research that suggests humor can reduce negative emotions, meaning that it can be a way to cope with negative situations.

Most of the time, when people are searching for a lawyer, a stressful event has occurred. As a firm, you have the potential to change the narrative.

Humor makes you human

Humor is an emotion that leads to connection. In this case, connection is a client identifying with your message and mission.

This concept leads us to an important point: being genuine in your marketing. You can use humor to showcase your law firm’s realness.

Effective marketing has outgrown the days of gimmicks; people seek authenticity. Why?

We live in a world dominated by consumerism. People are constantly bombarded with advertisements and promotions urging them to buy this or buy that. Your competitors are probably contributing to this noise.

They’re tired of it. They’ve learned to ignore messages that aren’t relatable or are insincere.

Power Review’s article on marketing authenticity includes a relevant quote from Josh Braaten, CEO of Brandish Insights: “With all the fake news out there today, consumers are getting more discerning than ever and have less patience for anyone who is stretching the truth or trying to deceive them.”

Clients are looking for lawyers who share their values and are willing to advocate for them. If they find your humor entertaining, you become a magnet for your ideal client.

Humor can strengthen client trust. You become more approachable, dispelling the stereotype that lawyers are distant and cold.

Where should you use humor?

Say you’ve decided that humor is something that will fit well in your law firm’s marketing strategies. Your next decision has to be where you will use it.

Social media is the best platform to showcase your firm’s humor and personality. While you can use humor in informational emails or your website, social media allows for more temporary touches of humor. Using humor in this way still shows that the majority of your firm’s work is serious and respectable, but that you know how to have fun and be human.

Newsletters can also be a good place to crack a joke or two, or even to include a fun meme!

What to be wary of

We’re going to make this point again: though humor has its benefits and can be a useful tool in marketing, it isn’t foolproof and it isn’t for everyone.

Here are some things to consider when you’re thinking about releasing or publishing ads or making an Instagram post.

Like any rhetorical tool, it’s necessary to consider who will be viewing your ads or social media posts. It’s possible to turn off potential clients if they don’t understand the joke, or worse, if they take it the wrong way.

A good rule of thumb is to stray away from jokes with any inappropriate subject matter. Keep it professional.

Be careful not to miss the mark. Answering Legal provides a short list of test questions that will help you from being the butt of the joke, or less respectable.

Your law firm is not the set of Saturday Night Live, so comedy should be your law firm’s only marketing tool. An occasional post or ad with humor is fine; but be sure to not overdo it.

Remember, you’re not using humor to entertain. You’re being relatable and relaxed–the goal is to make a connection with whoever views your ad.

Last, but certainly not least: if you aren’t funny, don’t try to be. It’s okay if the comedy route isn’t for you; you’ll find success in many other marketing strategies. The last thing you want is to seem inauthentic or for your marketing to seem forced.

Keys to making it work

If you feel prepared to take on the “daunting” task of being playful in your marketing, here are some tips to make it work.

Let’s return to the rhetorical triangle: the speaker, the audience, and the message. You, as the speaker, gain credibility through appealing to your audience and successfully conveying your message.

That being said, the audience, your ideal clients, should be the focus of any marketing strategy.

It’s also valuable to consider your practice area. Do people seeking medical malpractice lawsuits really want to be humored? Maybe we should save the jokes for a divorce attorney.

Be sure to use references your audience will understand. At the very least, use popular culture references that you can be sure everyone knows.

Most importantly, make sure your message is clear and relevant, and that you’re using humor for a purpose. Gerry Oginski discusses an important point relating to comedy in legal marketing: “Your ideal consumer doesn’t want to be entertained…Instead, they want answers. They’re searching for answers.”

In the end, potential clients are looking for a trusted, genuine law firm to help them with their needs. While laughter opens the door to interested potential clients, it doesn’t seal the deal. Make sure whatever marketing strategies you use show your authenticity and goals. Show them why you are the law firm they should work with.

Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.

Most attorneys start their firms assuming that being a really, really good attorney should, in and of itself, be a marketing advantage. Those attorneys believe that joining a whole bunch of committees and putting their name in lawyer directories is “marketing,” and they never bother to ask if there is a better way.

Attorneys are catching on, however, and those who succeed learn to leverage their current resources to create effective (and ethical) marketing. What they discover isn’t a magic pill or silver bullet but a different approach to marketing that your competitors haven’t considered.

If you want a peek at what successful attorneys use to market their practice, the HERO Starter Kit is your logical next step.

We’ve put together a FREE (and potentially life-changing) kit for solo and small firm attorneys that will show you a better way to reach potential clients and get them excited to call your firm. Request your HERO Starter Kit from Great Legal Marketing!

by Ben Glass

Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.


  • Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.