* The Hottest Law Firm Web Sites

Firms large and small can learn from examples of well crafted Web sites.

By Erik J. Heels

First published 3/2/2000; Law Practice Management magazine; American Bar Association

RedStreet Inc. (http://www.redstreet.com/) reviews law firm Web sites twice per year, including an annual fall review of the National Law Journal 250 law firm Web sites. As of this writing, work was still in progress on the 1999 reviews, but the following 10 (listed in alphabetical order) sites historically have been among the best.

1. Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn, PLLC
What we really like about this site is how it integrates the Web site with e-mail (sending newsletters, online discussion lists, etc.) — which makes it an effective marketing tool as well as a good sales tool.

2. Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP
The home page employs a periodical style, with a monthly feature on a legal issue.

3. Cooley Godward LLP
A perfect example of how the technology can be used to great effect. Not only are numerous technical features present throughout the site—they actually improve the site dramatically by making it easier to use, simpler to navigate and more accessible to the casual browser.

4. Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
One of the nicest features of the Davis Wright Tremaine site is its “News to Use” section, designed as its own “site.” The breakdown of different types of content is a nice way to present lots of information.

5. Dorsey & Whitney LLP
Rather than package the information on this site the way they want you to see it, Dorsey & Whitney does a good job of presenting it the way you want to see it. For example, “Dorsey & Whitney at a Glance” is a great overview of the firm: who they are, where they come from and how to contact them.

6. Haynes and Boone, LLP
The firm, based in Dallas, realizes a substantial percentage of its visitors are Spanish speaking. Rather than merely hoping those visitors are also fluent in English, Haynes & Boone provides a version of its site in Spanish.

7. Holland & Knight LLP
Attorney profiles are dynamically generated, which means they are easy to update and to maintain.

8. Perkins Coie LLP
The excellent “Internet Case Digest” is updated weekly and is the most comprehensive summary of Internet law we’ve seen.

9. Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti LLP
Excellent, crisp graphics, a simple logical site structure, good use of white space and professional page layout combine to make an excellent first impression.

10. Sidley & Austin
This firm has paid attention to the details. Bookmark-friendly titles are used, and page layout and font selection are consistent throughout the site.

What does RedStreet look for in a law firm Web site? We look at more details each year. Currently, we review each law firm in more than 50 categories.

Common Mistakes in Law Firm Web Sites (Which Lower Your Score)

  • Having a domain name that is not guessable. Alphabet soup domain names such as abcde.com are not guessable. If you answer the phone “Smith Jones,” your domain name should be smithjones.com.
  • Failing to put contact information on your home page (such as phone numbers and e-mail addresses) that is commonly included on business cards and letterhead.
  • Using technology for technology’s sake. If you want to use JavaScript, for example, make sure it serves a functional purpose (such as giving navigational feedback) — not just decoration.
  • Inflexible URLs. The “www” part of the URLs may be going away, so your firm should be accessible with or without this. For example, “http://www.redstreet.com” and “http://redstreet.com” both go to our Web site.
  • Not updating your site. A great site is wonderful, but publishing on the Web is a process, not an event. We think that like your annual report, your Web site should be overhauled at least once per year. (We’re averaging twice that.)

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