Websites are law firms’ front doors; is yours open to clients?
Law school graduates are unleashed into the legal marketplace with strong analytical skills but often lack much of the practical knowledge needed to run a successful law firm, which can make or break a fledgling law practice. Thinking like a lawyer will only get you so far in the competitive world of solo and small law firms, and that is why effective marketing is so important, especially if it is not taught in law school.
The good news is there is a simple, effective way to reach legal consumers in 2022: an informative, professional and client-friendly law firm website.
Websites are the online equivalent of your law firm’s front door and are a great way to showcase its strengths. It’s the first place potential clients look to learn more about your law firm, now that traditional advertising methods, such as Yellow Page ads, are nearly obsolete.
Unfortunately, many law firm websites leave a lot to be desired, with gavels and scales of justice splashed across a homepage and outdated content drafted a decade ago. If this sounds familiar, there’s no better time than now to make a change.
While launching a new website or revamping an antiquated one can seem like a daunting endeavor, it’s probably easier than you might think. The information in this column will help you get started and cover a few ways to develop a law firm website, including creating one yourself, using website design companies founded by lawyers or utilizing the website design services of a technology company your firm may already use.
If you are tech-savvy, you may want to consider designing your law firm website using a web-design tool. There are two options I would recommend if you decide to go that route.
First, there’s Wix, which I used to create my website. It’s easy to use, affordable and includes what law firms need to create robust websites, including blogs, SEO tools, analytics and social media integrations. Many different website templates are available, along with access to free stock images. Pricing plans start at $16 per month.
Another popular website-building tool is Squarespace. Like Wix, Squarespace provides easy-to-use templates, and strong website functionality is available, with blogs, analytics, SEO tools and more. The basic plan starts at $16 per month. Both Wix and Squarespace offer free trials.
Building and maintaining a website from scratch isn’t a tenable plan for many lawyers. If that describes your situation, plenty of design services are available. Below you’ll find companies founded by lawyers or provided by legal software companies. Because they have experience working in the legal industry, you can rest easy knowing they understand law firms’ marketing and ethical needs.
First, there’s Justia. It was founded by two lawyers, Tim Stanley and Stacy Stern, in 2003. In addition to providing website design services, it focuses on increasing access to justice, with free databases on topics including U.S. Supreme Court cases and COVID-19 laws. Should you choose to work with Justia for website design, you’ll also be supporting a company fighting the good fight.
AttorneySync, founded over a decade ago, is another company to consider. Co-founder Gyi Tsakalakis is a lawyer and the business offers a hypefree, practical approach to website design. It also provides online marketing services.
Another option to consider is Uptime JurisPage, a website design company that provides a host of marketing and SEO services for law firms. JurisPage was co-founded by attorney Andrew Cabasso in 2012, and the business was acquired by Uptime Legal Systems in 2016.
Stacey E. Burke, an attorney, has a law firm consulting business that offers website design services. It was founded in 2010, and also can provide social media and law firm branding work.
Next, there’s PaperStreet, a company founded in 2001 by attorney Peter Boyd. Along with website building, the company offers internet marketing and law firm branding services.
LawLytics is another company that offers website design services; it was founded by attorney Dan Jaffe in 2011. The business provides a selection of website templates you can customize before submission to their design team. One benefit of using LawLytics is you have full control of the website once it’s completed and can easily make changes as needed.
Finally, MyCase, a practice management software company, also provides website design services for clients. In the interest of full disclosure, I am the legal technology evangelist with MyCase. Integrations with the MyCase platform are available with its website services. For example, a firm’s client portal and web intake forms, which blend with lead management tools, can be embedded on the website and payment links can be added too. The web services have a one-time setup fee of $1,500 and a $100 monthly hosting fee, which includes maintenance and ongoing support.
Now that you know where to start, what are you waiting for? Legal consumers actively consider websites when choosing an attorney and expect law firms to have modern, well-designed, functional websites. With so many website design options available, there’s no excuse to rest on your laurels, and there’s no better time than now to refresh your law firm’s virtual front door with a website revamp.
Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York-based attorney, author and journalist, and she is the legal technology evangelist at MyCase, a company that offers legal practice management software for small firms. She is the nationally recognized author of Cloud Computing for Lawyers and is co-author of Social Media for Lawyers: The Next Frontier, both published by the American Bar Association. She also is co-author of Criminal Law in New York, a Thomson Reuters treatise. She writes regular columns for ABAJournal.com and Above the Law; has authored hundreds of articles for other publications; and regularly speaks at conferences regarding the intersection of law and emerging technologies. Follow her on Twitter @nikiblack, or she can be reached at [email protected].
This column reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily the views of the ABA Journal—or the American Bar Association.