I’d like to propose a starting point for every new law firm website initiative. Begin your next website project by asking one question:
“How can we craft our website so that it clearly demonstrates our keen understanding of our clients' businesses and their challenges?”
Why begin with this question? Why not start the process by addressing design, or new tech functionality?
The recently released Altman Weil 2012 Chief Legal Office Survey offers an answer. In the section entitled “Law Firm Selection Influencers,” the survey reveals that the number-one thing that positively influences in-house counsels’ decision on which firms to hire was “demonstrated understanding of your business/industry.” It scored 9.6 out of a possible 10.
That is significant. It means that the old message of “trust me, we’re great attorneys that do great work” isn’t going to cut it anymore. In-house counsel want proof.
Providing the Proof
Imagine for a moment that you are an in-house counsel visiting your law firm's website. What would you want the experience to be like?
Here’s a possible scenario: The firm, one of many that would like your business, has stayed on your radar because it has proven that it has unique experience and expertise in your area of business. You don’t have to take the firm's word for it – you can tell from its abundance of case studies on matters that are directly related to your business. And its blog posts, videos of speaking engagements, and thought-leadership about things that you realize you will need to focus on, further demonstrate the firm's deep understanding of your business. The information shared is invaluable and keeps you coming back to the practice areas and related attorney bios. You know that given the opportunity, you’ll be working with this firm sooner or later.
Sound a bit too perfect? Perhaps, but shouldn’t creating an experience similar to this be the goal of your website? Specifically, shouldn't your bio or practice area section compel in-house counsel to return there for ideas and insights that they can’t find elsewhere?
Doing this is not impossible. It requires three things:
- Focused marketing efforts on a niche area.
- Sharing your best ideas.
- Making it super easy to find those ideas on your website bio and practice areas.
We have some ideas on how to accomplish that last point.
A great back-to-basics post. With so much buzz over mobile and social sharing and such, it’s important not to lose sight of what you’re really trying to do. The study you cite is similar to an older one that was mentioned a few years back at an LMA conference. In a nutshell: Clients (potential clients) come to your website looking for proof of “specific, recent, relevant experience.” The website’s job is to demonstrate that.
Thanks for the reminder!