Marty Dolan, principal at Dolan Law and his associate Karen Munoz represent victims of wrongful death and personal injury. His column “Law and Wellness,” appears in the Chicago Lawyer and her column appears regularly in the Law Bulletin. This week’s column is written by Karen Munoz.
Very few lawyers don’t have websites in this day and age. However, there is still a minority that stubbornly persists in the belief that having a web presence is unnecessary. Setting up a firm site is essential but not as simple as just throwing up your practice areas and paraphrasing your resume. This post looks firstly at why having a website is important to your firm and then at some of the important considerations to bear in mind when setting one up.
Why Having a Website is Important
In practice areas like estate planning, conveyancing and criminal defense where the people traditionally turned to the phonebook to find lawyers, the Internet is now their main resource. So if your clients usually found you from phonebook ads, you may be losing a lot of business from that pool by not having an online presence.
Additionally, having a good professional website gives you more credibility. This can be important if someone refers a potential client to you. A lot of people may google your name as soon as they get it and they may think you lack credibility or have something to hide if you have no website.
How to Create an Effective Website
However, an unprofessional website will also put people off. This is of course the complete opposite effect you want your firm website to have. The primary goal of a firm website is convincing potential clients that you can meet their needs.
So the content has to be relevant to those viewing it. Generic statements about client service and expertise will not make you stand out. We try to focus on what we have to offer clients that nobody else can offer. We try to convey a sense of our firm’s mission and show people that we’re passionate about our work. If a firm website successfully achieves all these things then it will attract clients.
The corollary of this is that the site is not all about you. Of course, you have to show people that you have the credentials to meet their needs but that can be done without listing every article you’ve ever written or every bar association you’re a member of on the home page.
Additionally, a firm website has to be understandable. If you’re trying to tell people about a big case or transaction you were involved in, avoid legalese and break it down into clear concise pieces of key information.
It’s also effective to keep it up-to-date. Try posting blogs or informative articles about current events relevant to your practice areas. Your passion about your work comes through if people can see you writing about legal developments or current affairs as they happen.
Of course, many of those who don’t see the need for a firm website may point to their strong successful practices and argue that they do perfectly well without one. And it’s certainly not impossible to do well or bring in business without a website. But having a good website can go a long way towards bringing in more business.