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The best and the worst

20 July 2006

Law firm websites range from the excellent to the bizarre and the downright awful, according to the most recent Intendance Fast 50 Solicitors' Websites 2006: Who is Winning and Why? report into the UK's top law firms' sites. Based on a sample of 50 of the fastest growing law firms in the UK, websites were assessed under four categories:

  • content - the information contained within the site;
  • usability - how easy it is to access this information;
  • design - how well graphics are used to present the information; and
  • marketing - how effectively the firm uses its website to differentiate itself.
The report highlights the "perpetual tensions" between the four categories, as an example. "User-friendliness may reduce design coherence, comprehensive content may threaten usability and good marketing may be difficult to achieve in the face of all these," James Tuke, head of research at Intendance, said.

Over the last ten years websites have evolved massively from the basic, brochure-style site to the more interactive, engaging sites of today. Website audiences - be they existing or potential clients, potential recruits, other lawyers or other interest groups - have become more sophisticated, and want 'online' tools and expert editorial to entice them back to the site.

The mechanism of content delivery is important and, as ideas are borrowed from consumer websites, so firms will start to make use of new technologies and concepts such as podcasting, wikis and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds.

According to the survey Wragge & Co was the overall winner with a score of 84 per cent, four points ahead of Simmons & Simmons, while Linklaters and SJ Berwin were joint third with 80 per cent.

PS: Many South African law firms have websites and maybe a similar survey could be conducted here. Be that as it may, the GhostDigest would like to have a page in which we link to them. I would appreciate it very much if you could send me your firm's link to post on the GhostDigest at editor@ghostdigest.co.za.

Article on legalweek.com


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