Law Firm Websites: The Next Generation

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Explore:  Marketing

LawfirmwebsitespostSmallThe first generation of law firm websites was not noted for innovation, sophistication or splash. Most were utilitarian efforts at best, if not a bit stodgy. A growing number of firms, however, are overhauling their online presence, creating sites that better reflect their culture, market and expertise—and that function beyond the desktop. It’s no small task.

One of the next-gen law firm sites I like best is that of Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello, which launched a year ago this month. Programmed by Animus Rex and designed by Decker Design, the new site clean, lean and clear, with an emphasis on new content and a sharp focus on the firm’s core practice areas. I recently spoke with Paula Zirinsky, the firm’s marketing director, about how and why Morvillo Abramowitz revamped its website:

What was the impetus for a change?

The inspiration was to really distinguish Morvillo Abramowitz from the increasing large-firm competition in the white collar defense practice area. We needed to also reinforce that we do a significant amount of work in securities enforcement, regulation and government investigations, and civil and commercial litigation. So there was some strategic rationale for overhauling the website, but we also wanted to deliver an image of the firm that was more contemporary. Our old website was dated. The last piece of the puzzle was to deliver functionality within the website—a user experience that was really slick.

What were your design goals?

We wanted a modern sensibility. We wanted it to look state-of-the-art. We also wanted to deliver a content-focused user experience—to showcase our lawyers’ thought leadership and content. We also needed a site that could be viewed on various mobile devices. We knew from our analysis that users viewed our site on a variety of screen sizes at their desk, but more and more on iPads and smart phones as well. We used a technique called responsive web design so that our site would automatically adapt to those different screen sizes and platforms.

You made a critical decision to go with a text-based design and not have any images on your homepage. What was behind that?

That’s an interesting observation because in our design process we did have imagery at one time. Images are tricky because it takes a long time to get the right image to match what you want to say. Consensus is very difficult. In the end we felt that images were actually distorting the users’ ability to see what we’re all about. We have a lot of great things to say about ourselves and we wanted that to be the number-one priority.

It’s always a challenge to winnow things away until you just have the core elements on the homepage. Was that editing process hard?

We did have some challenges. Our practice has three pillars: white collar defense, securities enforcement regulation and government investigations, and civil litigation. It was very important to communicate that on the homepage. It also was important to communicate what’s going on with us: work we are proud of, awards we win, our blog, activities of our partners, and so on. At one point we actually had much more on the homepage and we felt that we needed to keep it clean and easy to find what you wanted to find. So the most important things to us were the three core practice areas within our practice, and then the highlights, the things that are current.

Functionally, what did you need the new site to do that the old one didn’t?

One was the responsive web design, so that users could get whatever they want, wherever they want, without our having to create a separate dedicated mobile site. Second, we needed a fully integrated and automated administrative platform—what everybody calls the backend. It has single-point data management, so when we put something in, we are able to tag it so everything gets appropriately linked within the site. The functionality and ease of use of the backend was just as important as the newly designed look and image. We needed a programmer that could help us get the design we wanted, and also make the backend very functional so we could do things like push out outbound emails from our website and collect the data that we want. Everything is on one platform.

The publication section is more prominent here than it is on most law firm websites. Was that a big consideration?

Yes. When we went to the new website and we transferred over all of our articles, our books, and so on, it was, I saw how much we had. Our lawyers contribute 24 columns per year to the New York Law Journal alone. They also contribute to many other publications on an ongoing basis. We’re also very proud of our blog [The Insider, on Forbes.com] and how we’re able to discuss other things that are going on in the news that have legal implications that pertain to our practice areas. Clearly, content and thought leadership on our site was very important. We know that when someone enters a website they first go to a lawyer’s profile, but more often than not they also look at the thought leadership to get a sense of how much the firm knows about things.

The new site has been up for a year now. What feedback have you received?

We constantly get feedback from clients, or referral sources, or the lawyers, saying that they like our website—that they want to do what we’ve done. That’s always a good thing. From our analytics, we know that we are bringing more new users to the site, that they’re staying longer and looking at more things. We obvious have focused a bit on search engine optimization within our site, so we have a better feel of the keywords that are getting people to our site and how they’re integrated in within the content. It’s all about the content, and we constantly keep it fresh.

- See more at: http://ipronmessage.com/2013/08/15/law-firm-websites-the-next-generation/#sthash.tLTfQlSQ.dpuf

LawfirmwebsitespostSmallThe first generation of law firm websites was not noted for innovation, sophistication or splash. Most were utilitarian efforts at best, if not a bit stodgy. A growing number of firms, however, are overhauling their online presence, creating sites that better reflect their culture, market and expertise—and that function beyond the desktop. It’s no small task.

One of the next-gen law firm sites I like best is that of Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello, which launched a year ago this month. Programmed by Animus Rex and designed by Decker Design, the new site clean, lean and clear, with an emphasis on new content and a sharp focus on the firm’s core practice areas. I recently spoke with Paula Zirinsky, the firm’s marketing director, about how and why Morvillo Abramowitz revamped its website:

What was the impetus for a change?

The inspiration was to really distinguish Morvillo Abramowitz from the increasing large-firm competition in the white collar defense practice area. We needed to also reinforce that we do a significant amount of work in securities enforcement, regulation and government investigations, and civil and commercial litigation. So there was some strategic rationale for overhauling the website, but we also wanted to deliver an image of the firm that was more contemporary. Our old website was dated. The last piece of the puzzle was to deliver functionality within the website—a user experience that was really slick.

What were your design goals?

We wanted a modern sensibility. We wanted it to look state-of-the-art. We also wanted to deliver a content-focused user experience—to showcase our lawyers’ thought leadership and content. We also needed a site that could be viewed on various mobile devices. We knew from our analysis that users viewed our site on a variety of screen sizes at their desk, but more and more on iPads and smart phones as well. We used a technique called responsive web design so that our site would automatically adapt to those different screen sizes and platforms.

You made a critical decision to go with a text-based design and not have any images on your homepage. What was behind that?

That’s an interesting observation because in our design process we did have imagery at one time. Images are tricky because it takes a long time to get the right image to match what you want to say. Consensus is very difficult. In the end we felt that images were actually distorting the users’ ability to see what we’re all about. We have a lot of great things to say about ourselves and we wanted that to be the number-one priority.

It’s always a challenge to winnow things away until you just have the core elements on the homepage. Was that editing process hard?

We did have some challenges. Our practice has three pillars: white collar defense, securities enforcement regulation and government investigations, and civil litigation. It was very important to communicate that on the homepage. It also was important to communicate what’s going on with us: work we are proud of, awards we win, our blog, activities of our partners, and so on. At one point we actually had much more on the homepage and we felt that we needed to keep it clean and easy to find what you wanted to find. So the most important things to us were the three core practice areas within our practice, and then the highlights, the things that are current.

Functionally, what did you need the new site to do that the old one didn’t?

One was the responsive web design, so that users could get whatever they want, wherever they want, without our having to create a separate dedicated mobile site. Second, we needed a fully integrated and automated administrative platform—what everybody calls the backend. It has single-point data management, so when we put something in, we are able to tag it so everything gets appropriately linked within the site. The functionality and ease of use of the backend was just as important as the newly designed look and image. We needed a programmer that could help us get the design we wanted, and also make the backend very functional so we could do things like push out outbound emails from our website and collect the data that we want. Everything is on one platform.

The publication section is more prominent here than it is on most law firm websites. Was that a big consideration?

Yes. When we went to the new website and we transferred over all of our articles, our books, and so on, it was, I saw how much we had. Our lawyers contribute 24 columns per year to the New York Law Journal alone. They also contribute to many other publications on an ongoing basis. We’re also very proud of our blog [The Insider, on Forbes.com] and how we’re able to discuss other things that are going on in the news that have legal implications that pertain to our practice areas. Clearly, content and thought leadership on our site was very important. We know that when someone enters a website they first go to a lawyer’s profile, but more often than not they also look at the thought leadership to get a sense of how much the firm knows about things.

The new site has been up for a year now. What feedback have you received?

We constantly get feedback from clients, or referral sources, or the lawyers, saying that they like our website—that they want to do what we’ve done. That’s always a good thing. From our analytics, we know that we are bringing more new users to the site, that they’re staying longer and looking at more things. We obvious have focused a bit on search engine optimization within our site, so we have a better feel of the keywords that are getting people to our site and how they’re integrated in within the content. It’s all about the content, and we constantly keep it fresh.

- See more at: http://ipronmessage.com/2013/08/15/law-firm-websites-the-next-generation/#sthash.tLTfQlSQ.dpuf

LawfirmwebsitespostSmallThe first generation of law firm websites was not noted for innovation, sophistication or splash. Most were utilitarian efforts at best, if not a bit stodgy. A growing number of firms, however, are overhauling their online presence, creating sites that better reflect their culture, market and expertise—and that function beyond the desktop. It’s no small task.

One of the next-gen law firm sites I like best is that of Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello, which launched a year ago this month. Programmed by Animus Rex and designed by Decker Design, the new site clean, lean and clear, with an emphasis on new content and a sharp focus on the firm’s core practice areas. I recently spoke with Paula Zirinsky, the firm’s marketing director, about how and why Morvillo Abramowitz revamped its website:

What was the impetus for a change?

The inspiration was to really distinguish Morvillo Abramowitz from the increasing large-firm competition in the white collar defense practice area. We needed to also reinforce that we do a significant amount of work in securities enforcement, regulation and government investigations, and civil and commercial litigation. So there was some strategic rationale for overhauling the website, but we also wanted to deliver an image of the firm that was more contemporary. Our old website was dated. The last piece of the puzzle was to deliver functionality within the website—a user experience that was really slick.

What were your design goals?

We wanted a modern sensibility. We wanted it to look state-of-the-art. We also wanted to deliver a content-focused user experience—to showcase our lawyers’ thought leadership and content. We also needed a site that could be viewed on various mobile devices. We knew from our analysis that users viewed our site on a variety of screen sizes at their desk, but more and more on iPads and smart phones as well. We used a technique called responsive web design so that our site would automatically adapt to those different screen sizes and platforms.

You made a critical decision to go with a text-based design and not have any images on your homepage. What was behind that?

That’s an interesting observation because in our design process we did have imagery at one time. Images are tricky because it takes a long time to get the right image to match what you want to say. Consensus is very difficult. In the end we felt that images were actually distorting the users’ ability to see what we’re all about. We have a lot of great things to say about ourselves and we wanted that to be the number-one priority.

It’s always a challenge to winnow things away until you just have the core elements on the homepage. Was that editing process hard?

We did have some challenges. Our practice has three pillars: white collar defense, securities enforcement regulation and government investigations, and civil litigation. It was very important to communicate that on the homepage. It also was important to communicate what’s going on with us: work we are proud of, awards we win, our blog, activities of our partners, and so on. At one point we actually had much more on the homepage and we felt that we needed to keep it clean and easy to find what you wanted to find. So the most important things to us were the three core practice areas within our practice, and then the highlights, the things that are current.

Functionally, what did you need the new site to do that the old one didn’t?

One was the responsive web design, so that users could get whatever they want, wherever they want, without our having to create a separate dedicated mobile site. Second, we needed a fully integrated and automated administrative platform—what everybody calls the backend. It has single-point data management, so when we put something in, we are able to tag it so everything gets appropriately linked within the site. The functionality and ease of use of the backend was just as important as the newly designed look and image. We needed a programmer that could help us get the design we wanted, and also make the backend very functional so we could do things like push out outbound emails from our website and collect the data that we want. Everything is on one platform.

The publication section is more prominent here than it is on most law firm websites. Was that a big consideration?

Yes. When we went to the new website and we transferred over all of our articles, our books, and so on, it was, I saw how much we had. Our lawyers contribute 24 columns per year to the New York Law Journal alone. They also contribute to many other publications on an ongoing basis. We’re also very proud of our blog [The Insider, on Forbes.com] and how we’re able to discuss other things that are going on in the news that have legal implications that pertain to our practice areas. Clearly, content and thought leadership on our site was very important. We know that when someone enters a website they first go to a lawyer’s profile, but more often than not they also look at the thought leadership to get a sense of how much the firm knows about things.

The new site has been up for a year now. What feedback have you received?

We constantly get feedback from clients, or referral sources, or the lawyers, saying that they like our website—that they want to do what we’ve done. That’s always a good thing. From our analytics, we know that we are bringing more new users to the site, that they’re staying longer and looking at more things. We obvious have focused a bit on search engine optimization within our site, so we have a better feel of the keywords that are getting people to our site and how they’re integrated in within the content. It’s all about the content, and we constantly keep it fresh.

 

Topics:  Marketing

Published In: Firm Marketing Updates

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