Apr 26 '16
Websites are a key bit of collateral for any business, and law firms are no different. Just like all marketing tactics; law firms, whether small independents or large global outfits, are starting to switch on to the fact they need to compete just like any other business. Law may not be the most ‘cool’ and visually appealing business to market online, but just take a look at these sites, which will prove that really doesn’t matter. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that some have made law look sexy and downright trendy.
These international lawyers were once again named one of Legal360’s ‘Fearsome Foursome”, one of the “four firms in-house counsel fear the most’. And judging by their website other law firms should fear their online presence.
Global firm Quinn Emanuel is not a quiet understated firm and the website is a key part of their bold and distinctive brand. Frankly it looks nothing like your ‘traditional’ law firm website (though we’ll talk about what we think law website should look like later). It’s punchy, it’s visual, and it certainly isn’t dull.
The website employs a clever tactic – it takes you on a journey of understanding about the firm. Research suggests we spend just a few seconds looking at a website before forming a decision or clicking off the site. The Quinn Emmanuel site holds your attention very cleverly.
The homepage draws you into clicking ‘more’, taking you to three short, key snippets – those being a news story, which demonstrates their expertise, a newsflash about awards, and a ‘recent victory’ snippet.
Again you are drawn to the ‘more’ button below, which takes you to a sliding real of client testimonials.
Yet again we can’t resist clicking ‘more’ one more time, and this time we fall on a page of infographic style statistics, highlighting fantastic headline figures, such as 88% of trials won, $50 billion won for plaintiffs.
Seriously good stuff here, even if you can’t or don’t want to emulate the style of this site, you should still consider how well the firm puts across all its key USPs and shouts about its successes.
This global law firm has chosen a style that we are starting to see more regularly within the industry, best described as news style sites. The home page is dedicated to showing their expertise and thought-leadership in the field through news articles.
However, the great thing about the White and Case website is that the overall navigation is excellent. From the main page, it is an easy scroll down immediately to the ‘Find a lawyer’ tool bar. Further down are details of the law firms’ expertise and services, followed by the ‘Our Thinking’ section, which takes you to news and blog articles, finishing up with the ‘About Us’ section. This is all without clicking off the homepage.
This website leaves us in no doubt as to what this firm does, what they are about and how much expertise they have.
This is an interesting site. Not as modern in style as some of the others, and at first glance, perhaps a little bit more conventional. However, what we love about the Eversheds site is the commitment to content. They have decided to make the main page a real feast of legal information, news and comment. A slide show of news articles loops on the homepage with articles, free downloads, guides, and surveys. All of this shows off Eversheds as thought-leaders in their field.
Slightly further down on the homepage we have a news section in which topical news stories are given the Eversheds treatment with a commented article. Interestingly there is also a Brexit hub with a wealth of published information about the possible move out of Europe and its implications on the economy and industries – a great idea to give some more insight and coverage to a big topical event.
What we like about the Fondia site is that it screams – ‘we are real people’ – in fact they look like very friendly people in the main photo, what a great PR shot. So simple, yet so effective. They don’t look like stiff lawyers, they look like happy, approachable people.
The site is very colourful and bright. It also goes for the infographic style headline figures, like the ones that Quinn Emmanuel adopted. They are straight to the point, highlighting expertise, size of organisation and we like the 97% recommendation rate stat!
We thought it useful to look at a slightly smaller firm within the list, that isn’t international. Bond Dickinson is a UK based firm, with seven offices around the country, and what a great website they have. We are pleased to say that Elephant Creative worked with them on content writing for the site. They have employed the content-heavy, news-style design as we have seen elsewhere, but with plenty of moving images and photos. Great news articles and comment pieces fill the site, shouting expertise, expertise!
The webpage employs the long scrolling page, as we have seen previously, so that you don’t have to constantly navigate away from the page to find what you are looking for. We love the post-it note calendar style ‘Events and Insight’ section. The colours are an extremely bold choice for a law firm, and it certainly makes the firm stand out from the crowd.
Five top tips for improving your law firm website
- Content, content content: It’s our number one tip, and we haven’t stopped talking about it. All the sites listed above demonstrate it so well. Make content a big part of your marketing strategy, produce great blog articles, comment on topical articles and create useful guides for clients. In terms of your website, let this take centre stage. It immediately engages the viewer as soon as they land on the site. Whether you decide to do it in a simple way with little articles on the page, or employ some of the more crafted designs with moving images and large panoramic photos, is up to you.
- Easy navigation: Some law firm websites still have a very traditional style of navigation in which you have to click through to different sectors and then click through to the lawyer to find what you are looking for. People want navigation to be quick and simple now. Using the search bar facilities on the homepage can be a good idea, or long webpages which people can scroll down to find everything they need work well.
- Show off: If you’ve clicked through to any of our suggested sites, you’ll notice none of them are shy about their expertise, their size, their lawyers, their awards, anything really. You’ve got such a short time to convince people when they click onto your website that you must highlight all your best bits first.
- Make it mobile: The sway towards more people using tablets and phones to view websites over laptops or computers continues to grow. You simply must make your site mobile friendly. It’s all very well spending a lot of money on a website redesign but if it looks a mess when you view it on an iPad then there is really no point. Your web designer will be able to take care of all of this for you.
- Colour: The bolder the better, law firms everywhere are stepping out of the grey and white, serious image and instead being creative, approachable, colourful, trendy even. Don’t be afraid to brand your website in a bold way. Fondia (with its bright pinks, blues and greens and fun photos) and Bond Dickinson (with its deep yellow) are great examples of this. You don’t need to be confined to a simple and formal colour palate.