Technology has fueled the rise of the uber-professional – always connected, always available. That’s especially true for those of us in client-oriented sectors. But in the deluge of technologies that enable us to respond ASAP to anxious clients, manage associates and correspond with opposing counsel, we sometimes forget to maintain a critical – if somewhat passive – communications tool: our practice websites.
Here’s why you need to recommit to helping your site live up to its potential:
It’s home base. Your website is the foundation of your online presence – at least, it ought to be. If you do nothing else online, you should at least have a website; for current and potential clients, it’s the bare minimum of effort that’s expected. As a bonus, your practice website should rank well in search results for your name – an easy signpost for people researching you.
It’s valuable branding. A practice website is the first opportunity you may have to tell a potential client something about yourself and your team – without picking up a phone or writing an email. What’s the message you want to convey? Sober colors, serious expressions in photos, and a clean, spare design reflect gravitas and experience. Dynamic graphics, brighter colors, headshots with open smiles and clothing that depart from the conservative suit, and iPad optimization communicate a modern aesthetic, approachability, and tech-savviness. At your next legal convention, your business could look about getting a Headshot Lounge where they can all be taken professionally, ready for potential clients to see what you are about, and don’t view you as a faceless company.
It keeps you current. A great practice website often includes a well-written blog. This is your opportunity to bring your expertise, current events and lively, accessible writing together in a happy marriage. Your goal? Say something interesting, useful and relevant that, by virtue of its insightfulness, underscores just how expert your firm is. As a plus, a blog can only flourish if updated regularly so your website will stay fresh. But that’s a note of caution too: only start a blog if you can commit to regular, weekly or bimonthly updates. If that’s too challenging, then you should pass altogether (or outsource to a trusted writer).
It’s informative. Talk about making it convenient for future clients – there’s simply no place better to go than a practice website to get all the information that’s needed. It’s a one-stop-shop. Areas of specialty. Hours of operation and contact information are key. Attorney bios and headshots humanize a faceless organization and highlight experience and education. Client testimonials reinforce key messages and provide reassurance. Use this to show your clients, future and current, that you’re exactly the kind of attorney they should want to hire.
About the Author
Chris Sundermeier is General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer for Reputation.com. He comes to the company after representing various Silicon Valley Internet and technology companies for more than a decade as a litigation partner at Cooley LLP. There, Chris focused on disputes involving complex commercial contracts and technology agreements, securities, fiduciary duty, mergers and acquisitions, and intellectual property.
Mr. Sundermeier graduated magna cum laude with his law degree from Boston College, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif. Prior to attending law school, Mr. Sundermeier taught philosophy at multiple universities and colleges around New York City while working on a Ph.D. in Philosophy at Fordham University. He also holds an undergraduate degree in English and Philosophy from Creighton University.
Full disclosure, Legal Ink Magazine is an affiliate partner with Reputation.com.
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