Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Law Firms Realizing the Opportunities Hosted by a Web Page

This is an interesting article written by Jonathan Thrope from Law.com about how law firms have begun to focus on using their Web site as a powerful communication tool.

Many firms are realizing the importance of their online presence, therefore putting more time and money into crafting an interesting, engaging, interactive Web page that best showcases the firm. There are many opportunities that a well-crafted Web site can offer a firm especially concerning marketing, recruiting, and new business.

Thrope's article consulted with several Web design professionals. "From the standpoint of branding, marketing and sophistication of marketing materials, the law firm sector has always been a little behind other professional services, other kinds of corporate entities," says Stephen Roussan, President of Web development firm ICVM. "[In the past couple years] I think there's been a substantial shift in the attorney mindset when it comes to Web sites and marketing in general."

A revamp of a Web site is no easy endeavor and the amount of time invested is often underestimated by law firms. According to the Thrope’s article, “New York-based Herrick Feinstein, which has 180 attorneys, launched a new Web site July 28, developed by ICVM – almost six years after its original site went up, and nearly one-and-a-half years since planning for the relaunch began. The site's calling card is its interactivity -- in that everything is linked to everything else.”

This is an example of a large firm’s endeavors of a Web site revamp. Typically, based on firm size and complexity of the site, it can take anywhere from six to 12 months on average. The time invested is certainly well spent if done correctly. Implementing interactive new media tools keep users interested and engaged.

Thrope lists his opinion of the law firm sites that best utilize their web page in his article. I have to agree with most of his comments, but see for yourself! Especially when browsing Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz versus Womble Carlyle with their bulldog mascot, Winston.

A Web site is a valuable recruiting and marketing tool for a firm. It is a highly visible flagship of the brand. In order to get to the final results some planning needs to be done.

  • First, research is imperative to discover what the firm is about and what makes it stand out and different from other firms. (These two concepts should then be implemented into your overall brand. For example, Womble Carlyle’s use of Winston, the bulldog.)
  • Next, the web site needs to be interactive – features to keep users interested will increase traffic. Many law firms are implementing blogs and videos on their sites for visitors to discover more about their clients and services.

Furthermore, sites like Facebook and Twitter are other new media tools that law firms can use to become more effective in making their Web site more interactive and to drive traffic to the Web site. Today, law firms can no longer rely solely on referrals. It is important in today’s “information overloaded” society to not only grab the attention of your target audience, but to hold that attention in order to build relationships and continue to bring in new business.

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