The dish on 8 new AmLaw 100 websitesBy Joe Walsh
September 10, 2019
Reviews of “new” websites for Jones Day, Mayer Brown, McDermott Will & Emery, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Ogletree, Troutman Sanders, Venable, and Barnes & Thornburgh reveal new trends. See the eight at a glance below and read a quick take of what we like about each. To date in 2019, these new sites mean 8% of AmLaw 100 firms have relaunched this year.
We like the central homepage message— “one firm worldwide”—because it doubles as both a statement of where Jones Day people work and as a unifying, values-based brand promise. In professional service firms, brand is reputation and reputation is behavior. In Jones Day’s case, the notion of a collective, cooperative, one-firm approach is backed up with client satisfaction ratings. Representative matters shared as client success stories throughout the site are helpful and impressive. Caveat: we are biased reviewers of this site since we’ve been working with the firm on and off for 25 years, including on this most recent iteration of jonesday.com
Mayerbrown.com greets the visitor with a promise: “uniquely positioned to advise the world’s leading companies.” The firm then works to prove the promise with credentials, case studies and perspectives throughout the site. We like the short (two sentence) practice, industry and regional capabilities descriptions that quickly give way to thought leadership in the area. Mayer Brown shares what it knows about subject matters, rather than describing, in long paragraphs, what it does. The biographies, leading with accolades or what others say about the professional, have the effect of saying more with less.
The website and broader rebrand put a thoroughly modern face on a storied old firm. The new M logo monogram stands in place of the full firm name as a visual cue for McDermott Will & Emery. Eye-tracking studies tell us we are attracted to color, shapes, images, headlines, and last to words when we visit websites. McDermott designs and delivers content with this in mind. The result is refreshing and impressive, as is the ample use of white space. In a sea of large law firm sameness, mwe.com delivers the rarest of law firm achievements in a website: differentiation. Kudos.
Formed in a 2018 cross border merger, BCLP presents the outward-facing integration of one firm and one brand on bclplaw.com. We like the site’s scrolling interface and the balance of visual and verbal delivery of substantive information. The 1.5 line spacing between sentences is respectful of those who find it harder to read online, which is most of us. The writing on the site is clear, efficient, free of legalese and reflects the best of business journalism. We especially like the headline on the top of the careers page: “We treat our colleagues like our best clients”. Now there’s an easy to grasp the message. And a sharp employer brand proposition.
Sometimes new websites are done in tandem with a brand makeover. Other times the new takes the “old” brand elements and represents them with a more contemporary digital face. Troutman Sanders’ site is the latter. A visitor encounters the same logo, color palette, and service principles in a more compelling, user-friendly package. We like the design and content elements that include splashes of color drawn from the logo, video imagery, north to south scrolling information delivery, and efficient writing. The net effect is that the brand is refreshed even without fundamentally rethinking the brand.
The latest iteration of Venable.com positions this venerable firm as vital and connected to the business and politics of today and tomorrow. The video that introduces the firm is well-conceived and executed. It previews what it is like to work with Veneable. We often say that is a primary job of marketing of professional services firms. People have different definitions of user experience. To some, it is being able to find things easily. To others, it is how the site gains and holds your attention with movement and content. Venable does both well. Although we’ve had no part in the website, we have had a role in the brand, beginning with the logo we designed before the turn of the century. Sometimes, not everything needs to change.
Barnes & Thornburg is a full-service business law firm representing companies deeply woven into the fabric of America. Across every industry, the firm’s clients are familiar and iconic. We know, because we partnered with the firm on this new website and more. The rebrand is designed to underscore Barnes & Thornburg’s position at the heart of business, a nod to its midwestern roots and growing national footprint. Homepage visitors are immediately met with visual representations of the firm’s clients’ customers; everyday Americans living everyday lives. Across industries, the home page tells rich stories of uncommon value for clients. Warm images and choreographed animation demonstrate unique value and provide a uniquely Barnes & Thornburg experience.
For a broader perspective, please spend some time on our sitevisitsSM research microsite. It catalogs 200 professional service firm websites and provides the latest dish on professional service firm web design, content and development trends.