I was “thumbing through” a variety of legal prognosticators forecasts/views preparing to do a hatchet job on their lack of vision, when an article from early 2011 caught my eye.
The website vendor made some grandiose blah, blah, blah… statements about where the industry will be going and how a firm’s website will be critical in supporting the new business development paradigm, replacing face-to-face business development. (Uh Yah… No I don’t think so)
From my perspective, the article swung and missed on almost all points, with one very important exception…
Attorney Microsites… They got that one right!
If you are not familiar with the term, an Attorney Microsite is essentially a mini-web page for a specific attorney. They will have blogs associated, industry news, thought leadership and a host of topical information related specifically to an attorney’s practice, background and interests.
Although you do not see them very often, supporting individual attorney’s like or dislike of technology and how they interact with their website biographies can be very powerful.
For discussion purposes, let’s assume there are three primary types of attorney’s and their relationships to web technologies: Liker’s, Disliker’s and the All Consumed Millennials.
The Disliker Type: Their website biography will be fairly static. Updates will be limited to their Martindale rating, or a recent photo. Standard Name, Rank and Serial information. Their bio’s technical advancement will be the ability to print a pdf version.
- Disliker % of most firms: Significant Majority
The Liker Type: This attorney type loves to write and has an affinity for it. Not only on legal matters, but also current events, professional and personal, and they clearly understand what topics are OK, and which should never be associated with the firm.
Supporting this type is simple, just make sure you give them access to the site, but limiting security rights. It is also important to have a gatekeeper review content prior to posting live for all to see.
- Liker % of most firms: 5% – 10% (or less)
The All-Consumed Millennial Type: This attorney type is typically younger (Millennial… Duh) was weaned on social networking and clearly understands every aspect of supporting web technologies, or has an innate ability to pick up on technology trends and apply them with ease.
Their biography page will be a live-streaming, RSS-feeding, heat-seeking, steaming pile of technology-wonderfulness that will be noticed and recognized as adding value to their audience and your firm.
Best to just stay out of the way of these ones, but also ensure they fully understand the rules of engagement when it comes to content. If they misstep with content from time to time, a good slap on the wrists should suffice and just remember you can <hit delete>. Just assume stuff will happen, but know the news cycle is short and a resounding apology is always remembered.
- All-Consumed Millennial % of most firms: 0% – 2% (or less)
What does it take to support these different types and why should a firm do it?
- If you have attorneys that fall into the latter two categories and you do not support them, they will find a firm that will. These attorneys are typically making it rain currently, or will develop the skills to do so. Supporting their practices and the technology they require will not only reap future benefits for them as individuals, but the firm as well;
- From a website technology perspective, if you are using standard technologies, these technology superstars will have no issue learning and performing their own updates. Think of how the ratios of staff to attorneys has shrunk in the last 5- 10 years; and
- Lastly, in the normal order of things, succession needs to be planned and supported. This is just one step in the direction of developing talent and passing the leadership baton.
- A firm MUST be committed to the endeavor. This is not something you take on and then let exigencies of the day get in the way.
- Try baby steps: Start with an attorney specific blog.
- If the attorney proves the commitment, then provide them more access and leeway to the supporting technology.
Going out on a limb here. Few firms will do it, but those that do will see clear results in enhancing website traffic and hopefully the bottom line as well!
Are we on to something here, or full of crapola? (lol) Please take the time to share your thoughts on this post in the comments below.
Feel free to contact us to discuss how you can incorporate Attorney Microsites in your firm’s website.
We look forward to hearing from you!