Law Firm Website Design: Good vs Bad

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Word of mouth may be the primary source of new clients for many legal service providers, but that doesn’t mean your law firm’s website and its design aren’t important.

The website representing your law firm has a vital job to do. Just as it’s crucial that your physical office is clean and professional to make a good first impression on your clients, your website must do the same.

A professional and attractive website will help make clients feel confident in your abilities. On the other hand, if you’ve got basic spelling mistakes or some amateurishly looking blocks or elements on your homepage, don’t expect your online visitors to trust you to represent them in court!

Your attorney website can also help clients find out about your business and services. Over a third of clients find their attorney by searching for one via Google or some other search engine.

In this article, we review some of the best law firm websites out there and identify the features to make them work. We’ll also compare these high performers to some badly designed sites so that you know what to avoid when building your own site.

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Benefits of an Engaging Law Firm Web Design

In this day and age, it’s simply not good enough to rely on your reputation and client referrals if your online presence is letting you down.

You can think of your website as of an additional employee working 24/7 to attract new clients and keep existing ones happy.

The following are some of the benefits you can enjoy when you’ve taken the time and made the effort to build a lawyer website that truly represents you:

1. More client inquiries

A good website that’s built for SEO purposes will help you rank higher on search engines. This means that more potential clients can find you easily when they’re searching for a lawyer in your area or legal practice specialty online.

2. Improved reputation


A well-designed website with helpful content can improve your online authority and credibility and build your brand. Over time, this will help ensure that your firm’s name is the first one people think of when they need legal assistance.

3. Stronger relationships with existing clients

A good website can make existing clients more confident in your services, particularly if it means it’s easier for them to find information or get in touch. This, in turn, will help you get more referrals.

4. Top talent attracted


Providing a great first impression is essential if you’re looking to attract top possible people for your law firm.

The best lawyers win more cases, score better results for their clients, and charge higher fees. So it’s crucial that you’re able to attract the top talent into your legal business.

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Examples of the Best Law Firm Websites

We’ve scoured the web for some of the best law firm website ideas out there right now. These sites are doing everything right when it comes to online marketing, and they’re well worth studying if you want to improve your website design.

In particular, we’ve identified some common features that these successful legal businesses have implemented on their sites. We’ve grouped the sites by these distinguishing features so you can identify which ideas you want to use for your own site.

Background Images or Videos with Visual Impact

1. Sidley

sidley.com

The abstract photograph used as the hero image and menu background is unusual but gives the site a modern feel. It also makes the header and menu text stand out without affecting readability. The announcement’s color block also does a great job of drawing attention to important information.

2. Cleary Gottlieb

clearygottlieb.com

The designer of this site made a wise decision to avoid clichéd scenes and instead chose a strong, eye-catching background image with an abstract filter effect. This immediately grabs the attention of a casual browser and helps set the tone of this site as high-end and professional.

3. Quinn Emanuel

quinnemanuel.com

This site uses stunning background images combined with modern typography and contrasting colors to create an eye-catching and memorable design. Intuitive navigation and clear calls to action make it easy for users to browse the content and contact lawyers on this site.

4. White & Case

whitecase.com

An image with a strong focal point helps draw your eye to the center of this page. A series of equally dramatic images keep you scrolling, while the well-defined menu and clear calls to action make it easy for visitors to take the next step.

 

Innovative Menu Design

1. Akin Gump

akingump.com

Hamburger menus are not only for mobile sites. Hiding away the menu behind a neat icon allows this site to fully use the screen real estate for high-impact visuals. The menu itself is clean, clear, and easy to navigate.

2. Milbank

milbank.com

A minimal navigation menu keeps this site looking clean and keeps the focus on lead-generating content. Rather than browsing through dozens of menu items, you can use the pop-out search function to find the information you’re looking for quickly.

3. Cooley

cooley.com

Here’s another example of how a pop-out menu can free up space and also form an integral part of the site design. Including the search feature as part of the menu means that users can easily find what they want if they don’t see a suitable option after a quick scan of the menu items.

 

Coherent Brand Messaging

1. Covington

cov.com

By using a solid value proposition as its main headline, Covington’s website instantly tells the visitor what they can expect to gain from working with this law firm. Combined with a clear CTA, this makes the site very easy to navigate for people who are ready to take action.

2. Perkins Coie

perkinscoie.com

It’s very easy for a browser to skip over large sections of copy on a website. Perkins Coie avoids this by combining small chunks of text with bold headings and eye-catching images as a carousel.

3. Munger Tolles & Olson

mto.com

The catchy and original headline on this site immediately sets the tone for what you can expect when you decide to work with this law firm. Tight copy and a centrally located search function help guide the user’s attention and make it easy for them to find what they need.

 

Well-Planned Layout

1. Baker McKenzie

bakermckenzie.com

A classic grid layout is spiced up with subtle animations and colorful abstract images on this site. The result is a fresh, modern design that’s easy to navigate. It’s a great example of how to present a lot of information without overwhelming the user.

2. King & Spalding

kslaw.com

This site divides its main content into thematic blocks that are easy to scan and digest. A complementary color scheme and well-chosen typography help make the homepage inviting to scroll through.

3. Mayer Brown

mayerbrown.com

This is another excellent example of zoning information using images and color blocks to create visual dividers. In addition, the content is structured to make it easy for readers to see the most up-to-date news at a glance.

 

Striking Typography in Design

1. Wilson Sonsini

wsgr.com

The headlines on this site are much larger than the standard, so they immediately grab your attention. Variations in font size and weight instantly show the hierarchy of the site copy and make it easy for readers to scan without getting overwhelmed.

2. Davis Polk

davispolk.com

Davis Polk uses no images at all on their site, relying on the typography and color contrast to make a visual impact. This unique approach is sure to get your attention from the moment you arrive on this site. It makes this law firm more memorable than its competitors with more standard website designs.

3. Goodwin

goodwinlaw.com

This site uses bold, large all-caps headings to turn article links into effective CTAs and bring attention to its impressive case studies. The combination of eye-catching graphics and design-led typography ensures that this site is a pleasure to browse.

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Poor Law Firm Website Design Examples

We’ve taken a look at the cream of the crop, and now it’s time to scrape the barrel and find some examples of what not to do.

These lawyer websites are not only ugly to look at, but they also provide a poor user experience. It can be hard to attract clients with sites like these, which means that these websites aren’t helping the law firms they represent grow.

1. Outdated, Generic Design

This site looks very dated, and the small text size means it’s difficult to read and navigate. There’s nothing to indicate you’re on an attorney website, and there are no CTAs or information flow to guide you through the site.

2. Poor Choice of Colors and Images

The combination of small white text on a blue background makes the copy on this site very difficult to read. The images are also clichéd and formulaic and do nothing to make this law firm stand out.

3. Too Much Text and Terrible Background Image

When landing on this page, you’re immediately greeted with a wall of text. Unfortunately, those who attempt to read it will probably get eye strain from the awful color scheme. In addition, the menu background image makes the text impossible to read and looks more like a treasure map than a legal services website.

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Your Law Firm Web Design Checklist

Now you’ve seen examples of the good and the bad, it’s time to start thinking about building your own site.

While it’s easy to rush off and start thinking about law firm website ideas, it’s essential to have a roadmap of what you want to achieve when you’re ready to launch your site.

You can use this list to keep you on track, whether you’re building the site yourself or using a professional web design team.

Select Colors and Fonts for Your Business

If you already have a logo and branding guidelines, you can use these to select your colors and fonts. If not, it’s important that the color scheme of your site represents your business personality.

You should also consider readability when selecting colors and fonts. Dark text on a light background is most readable. Sans-serif fonts are also easier to read than serif fonts, so it’s best to use these for your body text and keep serif fonts to headings only if you wish to use them.

Create or Commission a Logo

Your logo is a visual representation of your brand and will be used on all of your marketing materials, including your website, printed flyers, and headed paper.

For this reason, you should take the time to make sure you’re really happy with your logo, as it’s not easy to change on a whim later.

While many people think that logo design is a simple task, it can be tricky to get right in practice. Working with a professional brand designer will ensure that your logo is the best representation of what your business stands for.

Choose a Theme for Your Images

As you saw in the examples above, some law firms opt for abstract images in their site designs, while others choose to use pictures of people.

If you have the budget for it, hiring a photographer to capture images of your team at work is likely to go down well with clients. However, if you have a limited budget or no existing photography assets, consider using stock photos for your website.

Plan Your Website Layout and Structure of Your Content

There’s a fine line between creating an information-dense site and making it too cluttered. Your content should be well organized and easy to navigate so that your users can find what they’re looking for quickly.

Plan out how you want the structure of your website to look before starting on any design work, as this will help ensure you don’t get lost along the way or make any costly mistakes when designing your website.

Test Your Site on Multiple Devices

It’s not enough to test your site on a desktop computer anymore. While many people still use desktops and laptops, more and more are using smartphones for their internet browsing.

Make sure that every user can access the content they’re looking for regardless of what device they’re using by testing your website across multiple platforms before launching it.

Get the Visual Balance Right

As you saw in the bad examples above, sites with pages of text and no visuals to break it up look unappealing and unprofessional. On the other hand, sites with too many images and no text are likely to look more like an online gallery than a law firm website.

Don’t forget about the importance of white space, either. You must leave enough room around your content so it doesn’t look cramped or crowded on the page.

Create Videos to Support Your Content

Video is one of the most engaging forms of content you can use on your website, and it’s not as hard to create or edit as you might think.

A video can be a great way to explain what you do and why your legal services are different from the competition. As well as putting videos on your website, they’re also great for sharing on social media.

Ensure Your Copywriting is Polished

Words matter. The best sites we included in the list above didn’t only have a great design, but they’d obviously put a lot of time into crafting engaging headlines and CTAs too.

As well as convincing potential clients that you’re the right firm for the job, your website text needs to be written for search engines too. Therefore, it’s vital to include appropriate keywords (and not only!) in your website copy so that people can find your website when they need help with a legal matter. For this reason, hiring an SEO copywriter can prove to be a worthy investment too!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do you make a good law firm website?

The key to making a good website is to focus on what’s most important for your users. Make sure you have a clean design and clear navigation so it’s easy for them to find the information they’re looking for. It’s also a good idea to hire a design agency or web designer with expertise in creating law firm websites.

2. How much does it cost to design a law firm website?

The cost of designing a website can vary depending on the agency or freelancer you work with and how much time it takes to complete.
In general, a bespoke site will cost anywhere upwards of $6,000 in initial design and development fees. You should also allow for around $1,000 a year for maintenance and updates.

3. What should a law firm website contain?

Every website is different, but there are a few essential pages you should make sure to include on your legal firm website:

  • A clear explanation of what legal services you offer and what legal problems you can help with;
  • Biographies, including qualifications and experience of attorneys who work for your firm;
  • Contact information, including an online contact form, phone number, email, and a map to your office;
  • News updates and press releases for new cases and legal developments in relevant areas of law (such as divorce news if you’re a divorce lawyer).
4. Can law firms have a website?

Would you trust a lawyer if they didn’t have a website? These days, it’s vital for all businesses, including law firms, to have a modern website that’s easy to find on search engines.

Dec 17, 2021

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Rachel

I’m an online marketing professional with over 10 years of experience. I have a background in web development and SEO, which I leverage to provide high-quality content strategy and content creation for businesses.

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