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Over half of top-30 UK law firms have ‘mediocre’ websites

Most websites lack innovative and firm-specific features to aid differentiation, benchmarking survey finds 

22 November 2012

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Most websites lack innovative and firm-specific features to aid differentiation, benchmarking survey finds 

By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

More than half of the top 30 law firms in the UK have ‘mediocre’ websites, according to recent research.

Berwin Leighton Paisner and DLA Piper were jointly ranked as having the best websites, closely followed by Allen & Overy.

Freshfields was found to have one of the three worst websites in the group, followed by Addleshaw Goddard and Holman Fenwick Willan

The benchmarking survey by Last Exit compared the websites of the top 30 firms by international revenues with a major presence in the UK.

Only 12 law firm websites were found to be ‘good’ overall; the rest were rated as ‘mediocre’. The report notes that there are very few innovative or firm-specific features on websites to aid differentiation and that many have a ‘dry’ approach and ‘staid’ tone.

Firm websites were assessed based on three main criteria: design and technology, marketing and social media, which were then divided into 34 key touchpoints, each of which was scored.

Law firm websites were rated based on their search functionality; user personalisation; identification of user types; recruitment sections; calls to action; thought leadership content; topicality of communications; richness of content; global credibility; reputation management; search engine optimisation; integration and usage of social media; and share buttons.

In terms of usability, the survey found that just five of the 30 websites were optimised for mobile usage and had ‘excellent’ search tools. Only one firm website – Allen & Overy's – was found to have predictive search functionality.

Most websites also scored poorly for basic online marketing of their firms. Only two firm websites were found to have been deliberately designed for search engine optimisation (Holman Fenwick Willan's and Nabarro's), while just two were rated as having a ‘complete’ social media presence (Allen & Overy and DLA Piper).

In a related survey last month, many large law firms said their website is a central component of their online marketing strategy and they intend to further enhance it in the next 12-18 months.

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