Nine percent of Amlaw 100 sites new to market in Q1By Greenfield Belser, a Finn Partners Company
April 25, 2017
In our review of the websites of the largest 100 law firms (as determined by the American Lawyer), we saw nine firms launched new sites this past quarter. Want more? Check out or revisit SiteVisitsSM, our catalog of websites of the 200 largest professional services firms.
Updates are made quarterly to SiteVisits. Here you’ll find noteworthy changes to law firm sites. Specifically, nine percent of sites reviewed are new so far this year. Get the quick dish on these updates below.
Read this law firm’s mission and you’ll learn it aims to be a world class professional service business—interestingly, they don’t say law firm or firm. The new website reflects the mission and reminds us of some of the category leaders from other corners of professions like McKinsey and PWC. Breaking from law firm conventions of granular legal alerts and firm news on the home page, Herbert leads with a big picture thought leadership study of GC opinions. The “latest thinking” content hubs are also the wave of the future for law firms. The site is clean and editorial throughout. Beyond the intelligent vibe of the site, we like the open search bar that travels with the visitor to each page.
Cooley’s new website is uncluttered and substantive without all the long paragraphs of narratives and content that fill too many competitor’s sites. Eye-catching shapes and colors deliver the firm’s skills and proof of experience to the scanning reader. Less is not always more, yet, in this case, Cooley delivers. We like how the industry and practice pages lead with “Why Cooley?” in a short, convincing list of bullets that answer the question. What we like most and give green ribbon recognition to is the Cooley GO microsite. We’re not alone. Webby-award winning “GO” is a robust online resource center for entrepreneurs whose businesses are at varying stages of the growth cycle.
Following the combination of two prominent firms, the new website replaces the firm’s legacy web properties. Arnold & Porter’s website, which was recently redesigned, is the blueprint for the new. In fact, the “old” design is the new with some exceptions, like accommodating a longer name. What remains is a straightforward, utilitarian quality...
The new duanemorris.com is a responsive reinterpretation of the old. That is, not much has changed beyond the adaptation to allow the site to work on all devices and screens. What we liked best about the site remains the same. The firm’s short video (a minute and one-half) shares impressive skills and experience with efficiency. The Duane Morris at-a-glance pdf does the same.
The reboot of bakerdonelson.com, with an all new design, back-end technology, and approach to content delivery, is holistic and impressive. When we visited, we were greeted by a video monitor of moving health care technology images displaying Baker’s strength in health care. While Baker does much more than health care, it is interesting to see a firm stand and declare a major area of focus. The site features dynamic imagery and other visual approaches to connecting with the busy visitor. We like how practice and industry pages lead with useful content (representative matters, thought leadership, client videos) and places the typical practice description in a supporting role.
We are seeing a trend in new law firm websites—even really wonderful designs like Pillsbury’s—away from brand messaging or positioning attempts. Instead, most focus on a modern digital presentation of the firm, ease of use and other important web experience courtesies. Pillsbury excels in its focus on these latter items. For example, when you land on the site, navigation IS the home page—lawyers, capabilities, insights. The site is fresh, airy and thoroughly impressive. In ways it is also differentiating. We particularly like the new attorney bio pages and photos. Bigger picture, we hope the trend away from brand positioning does not continue. A modern digital experience is critical. However, in time, it is unlikely to be a source of differentiation.
Kudos to Drinker Biddle. The new site impresses in the way other new and new era websites impress (see recently reviewed Pillsbury, Baker Donelson and Cooley, for example). The well done new sites are device agnostic, less cluttered, feature easy to read typography and rely on the shapes, colors, images and videos that eye tracking studies say capture attention on the web (as opposed to the old wall of words). Beyond these features, Drinker’s site has some distinctive novelties. Example: Check out the home page navigation. It is dynamic and unconventional, in a good way. It also begins the process of selling the firm. Smart.
Looking at the old friedfrank.com compared to the new, we suspect the need to change was largely driven by the responsibility to make the site friendly on a tablet or phone. Along the way, Fried Frank has done a good job airing out a stuffier, dated web presence. The new reflects the unchanged culture of this high performing firm: matter of fact, business-like, no nonsense. Dare we say, frank? We suspect the generation of website overhaul projects driven by the need to make the site work on any device will soon pass. What will the next driver be? Differentiation may be the leading candidate.
The people photography on SRZ’s new website is high quality and feels candid. The people put a face on the firm and humanize its offerings and skills. Speaking of their people, hats’ off to the collection of videos by the firm on YouTube and across the site on a wide variety of topics from hedge funds to private equity deals and trends. We know these are tough to write, direct, edit and produce. Check out our article on How to Direct Non-Actors in a Video Shoot for some pointers. Using, as Schulte has, a professional team to execute is smart. So is a creative concept to drive the overall visual art direction. In fact, every little detail helps.