AmLaw Global 50 Aggregate Scores
|1||91.6||Site includes a link to an alumni community (LinkedIn or separate website)|
|2||89.5||Site includes newsletter subscribe feature, event registration, other sign-up opportunities|
|3||98.4||Link to firm/lawyer blogs on home page, bios, practice/industry and other relevant pages|
|4||86.2||Site offers educational webinars, videos, podcasts|
|5||89.5||Site links to social media sites and has an active/current presence on their sites (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook)|
|6||80.6||Share functionality is present throughout the site|
|7||74.9||Site features videos - in bios, careers, news, other areas of the site|
Top Trends + Insights
Four Global 50 firms scored 100.0 on this Foundational Best Practice – Morgan Lewis, Ropes & Gray, K&L Gates and Winston & Strawn. Bravo!
In the 2016 Study, the lowest scoring firm averaged 19.4 (“unacceptable”). In this Study, the lowest score jumped up considerably to 58.6 (“fair”).
We eliminated two attributes in this Study over the 2016 research:
- Site offers a PDF “binder” or “build a brochure” functionality. We deleted this because, while it is interesting functionality, analytics prove that visitors aren’t using it. Since the very reason this research exists is to evaluate and improve visitors’ experience over time on law firm websites, if they aren’t using it, let’s get rid of it.
- Client extranet is offered and accessible. The average number of firms who included an extranet link in the 2016 Study was 55 out of 100. Today we assume that all major B2B firms offer clients secure portals to share documents, etc., but we no longer advocate that firms include visible links on their main website. The primary reason is security. In spite of having several layers of protection, we don’t recommend advertising that this link provides access to the law firm clients’ most sensitive information.
As in 2016, too many Global 50 websites don’t offer “share” functionality for bios and other important pages (and, after the latest round of redesigns, many firms also don’t offer “email this page,” thus they are making it next to impossible to easily transfer information from one interested reader to another). The 2019 score was 81.0 (“good”) compared to 71 (barely “good”) in 2016.
Take advantage of all channels to build reputation, community and engagement. It can all work much harder for you if view it collectively. Don’t forget that you are also providing a platform for clients to interact with you. They may not be ready to hire or refer you – but they may want to keep learning about you.
43 of the Global 50 firms scored 100.0 on "linking to an online alumni community – either through their websites or via LinkedIn."
- Most large law firms follow the lead of the Big 4 and other major accounting and advisory firms – they recognize the enormous value of nurturing alumni as sources of new business. Small to mid-sized firms aren’t as adept or conscientious about this. Missed opportunity, we think.
- Building your alumni community on LinkedIn is an affordable, smart alternative to designing and maintaining a private alumni website.
24 of the websites scored 100.0 on attribute #2 "making it easy to subscribe to newsletters, eAlerts and other publications and register for events." The rest of the law firms made it harder to do one or the other. Often, they included subscribe or register but not both, or the functionality they did offer was hard to find or wasn’t user friendly. This is such basic functionality today, we found this surprising.
- Firms typically link to a third-party event registration software, such as CVent or EventBrite. No need to build this functionality into your website.
- The average score in 2019 was 90.0 (“excellent”) – a marked improvement over the 2016 score of 73 (“good”).
Only two law firms didn’t score 100.0 on attribute #3,"linking to blogs on all relevant pages." With a score of 98.4 in this Study, it’s improving on an already good score (90.0) from the 2016 Study.
- Many lawyers still don't include social media links on their bio pages. These links promote relationship stickiness and help people feel closer to you.
As noted in FBP1 - Communicating your Message, don’t bury your positioning strategy messages in a video that is further buried in your ABOUT section. Fine to have a video but ensure that the text is featured and readable on your home page. And don’t forget to caption it so it passes the accessibility test for hearing-impaired visitors.
The greatest positive change in the 2019 Study over 2016 is the proliferation of multimedia, primarily video. Analytics prove that video drives further engagement and longer website dwell times, so it has highly practical and indisputable advantages. To learn more about “dwell time,” read FBP2 - Design.
- 15 firms scored 100.0 on this attribute and we congratulate all of them on what we know is a lot of hard work. Because the investment of time and money can be substantial to produce well-scripted, high-production-value video, we are naming all 14 firms here: Hogan Lovells, Morgan Lewis, Jones Day, Norton Rose Fulbright, White & Case, Ropes & Gray, Greenberg Traurig, CMS, Sullivan & Cromwell, Paul Weiss, Morrison & Foerster, K&L Gates, Winston & Strawn, McDermott Will & Emery.
- The lowest score was 25.0 or “unacceptable” – six firms offered little video content or what was on the site was very difficult to find.
- Videos should be short; generally, two minutes or less. If you really want consumption, target 30 to 60 seconds. The exceptions are: a deep-dive into a particular topic, which can be up to 10 or 15 minutes; a video of a panel discussion, presentation or longer live speech, or a webinar recording (which isn’t technically a video). If you have an hour of video material, consider creating a video “executive summary” of the high points in five minutes or less.
- We really like Cooley’s “Dealology” videos narrated by one of its partners. They are simply produced – perhaps shot in the lawyer’s office or a conference room and cover important aspects of different deal types. The content meets the accessibility standard, with the text of the material captioned on top of the image, and the accompanying page content summarizes what visitors will learn when they listen to it (for several of them). The shortest is 3:37 minutes and the longest is 13:52. These prove that you don’t have to spend a fortune on creating a video with the highest production value. The purpose is to inform, so they should be clear, relevant, crisp, pleasant to watch and have no jargon.
The 2016 Study score for attribute #4, "the website offers educational programming," such as webinars and podcasts was 67.0 (“fair”), but it has improved significantly in our 2019 Study – now an 86.2, which is “excellent.” 21 firms scored 100.0 and are offering terrific programs to clients and other visitors.
The Global 50 firms do mostly link to their social media pages, but many too often have a skeletal presence on these pages.
- Still the most common social media pages represented are LinkedIn and Twitter, with varying degrees of commitment to Facebook.
- Full exploitation of YouTube is still uncommon for the Global 50 firms, but five firms do stand out because of their comprehensive YouTube channels and thousands of subscribers: Jones Day, Mayer Brown, Latham & Watkins, White & Case and Baker McKenzie.
- The Global 50 firms use their social media sites more strategically than smaller firms (with some exceptions, of course). Too many smaller firms focus only on self- promotion – news about the firm (such as firm and lawyer awards, updates on new partners, specific achievements). They are not using social media to discuss relevant news and topics that would appeal to a broader audience. This is a huge missed opportunity to invest in boosting your reputation via thought leadership, whether you originate content or curate and comment on others’ posts.
- Some websites had social media accounts but did not provide links to them on their sites. We were flummoxed about this. Another missed opportunity!
With a score of 100.0 on all attributes (compared to an 84.4 in 2016), the firm offers an excellent library of videos covering numerous substantive topics – as well as pro bono, celebrating kindness and one where they share their favorite things (for the December holidays).
Also scoring a perfect 100.0 on all attributes, all points of interactivity and engagement are visible and easily accessible by visitors.
This site was also featured in the 2016 Study (it’s the same site), but then scored an 86.3. It scored 100.0 in this Study. They have paid increased attention to ensuring that these foundational attributes are readily available to visitors. The firm offers a lot of podcasts and webinars, as well as video.
This site offers two levels of global navigation. In the secondary navigation, which appears on all pages above the Who we are / What we do / Where we are, Winston & Strawn includes Videos and Blogs & Podcasts. Easy to find and access, most videos are very short and well produced, but they do need to be captioned. The podcasts are excellent and do include the script. Also featured in the 2016 Study, the firm’s score improved from a 90.6 (“good”) to a perfect score of 100.0 in this Study.
As noted above, Cooley stands out because of its terrific video series, “Dealology.”
|Do study your website analytics to understand how multimedia builds engagement and increases dwell time.|
|Do make it easy to find your multimedia resources. Tag them so searching for “video,” “webinars” or “podcasts” harvests a list of all them in your search results. Make them easy to 0find and ultimately consume. Make sure they are also searchable by subject matter.|
|Do provide prominent and visible links to blogs (on the homepage, bios, practice/industry pages, and all other relevant pages) - syndicate your valuable content!|
|Do include share functionality and social media links on all pages, especially professionals' bios, news/events/articles/etc. and your practice/industry pages. Make it easy for others to spread the word about you!|
|Do ensure that all seven of these attributes seamlessly function on tablets and phones. Interactivity and engagements are especially important on mobile devices.|
|Don't forget to caption your videos for hearing-impaired visitors and include scripts for all podcasts, as well.|
|Don't' miss the opportunity to further connect with prospects and referral sources via social media. Focus first on LinkedIn and Twitter - but remember that Facebook and Instagram are popular for business users, too.|
|Don't think of your website primarily as an online brochure. Build interactivity and engagement points throughout your site -- they will keep your visitors on your site longer, and visitors will consume more of your pages.|
|Don't assume that "clients of a certain age" don't care about interactivity and engagement. Clients of all ages care.|
FBP6 Total Scores
Top Ten Performers
4 firms tied for 3rd place so we are including all of them here.