SO! You've decided your law firm needs a shiny new website? Maybe that billboard down County Road 98 just isn't pulling in your high-revenue clientele. Never fear, PAC is here to help you design your website.
In my time here, I have stumbled upon many law firm websites, and few, if any, are well designed. SEO? Screw that. Site maps? Directions are for pussies. Meaningful information about how your firm is different that the one on the floor below? Why the hell would you want your customers to know that? So here you go, the definitive guide to setting up your own law firm website, terribly.
How to Make a Law Firm Website
It is very important to remember that all lawyers are the most tech-savvy people you will ever know. Whatever those lawyers use on their servers must be what everyone else is using, right? Therefore, make sure your website is only compatible with Netscape running 640x480 resolution. Using Firefox? Fuck you.
First, place your firm's name across the top. Use fancy caligraphy or sharp-edged, pronounced letters, but certainly NOTHING in between. The idea here is emphasize that your firm is as old as movable-type printing presses. That's why your website looks like it was originally rolled out by Gutenberg and scanned into Go Daddy. Colors are absolutely evil. Unless it's navy blue. Navy blue looks good, but nothing else. Think in terms of grey. If you can get at least 3 shades of grey on your logo, you're doing awesome. If you're feeling a little frisky, you can take the avant guard route and add one really loud color to your name or logo. However, if it's anything other than abstract minimilistic, go back to square one and stick to grey. And navy blue.
Next, on the row below, have "About the Firm", "Practice Areas", "Our People/Attorneys", and "Contact us." This is very important. If you do not have these things, your state bar association may sue you, kidnap your children, and neuter your dog. If you have anything else on this line, they'll probably do worse. Innovation is the devil. Secondly, it's very important that each of these fonts be black on white background. High contrast is critical to catching the eye of that geriatric that is using the interwebs to scout his new will-maker.
Next, set up two columns, and then flip a coin.
If it's heads, go right. tails, go left. In your chosen column, write the following canned description of your firm: "Over the years, the members of [Insert names], [LLP/LLC/PC], have developed a reputation for aggressive and effective litigation in state and federal courts throughout the state of Lone Star." This allows clients to think you are good at what you do, while still not knowing absolutely anything about you. "Since [year of founding], [Firm Name] has excelled in the areas of [Insert practice areas that are highly technical and legalese, so lay people think you're really smart. Always include "complex litigation" in there. All litigation is complex, but those rubes don't know that]. We represent a wide range of clients, and our attorneys understand our clients' problem on a deep level." This last part is very important. It is critical to emphasize that your firm "cares" about your client's "problem." It may be lip service, as you really only care how many billable hours you can hang on the poor bastard in perpetuating said "problem," but when they sue you for overbilling, you can show the jury your pretty website saying you "care." If you have fewer than 10 attorneys, it's also good form to add up everyone's years of experience (x), subtract 1 (x-1), and brag about how you have "more than [x-1] years of experience defending clients' rights/bringing clients justice." This way you can brag about having 5 years experience without having paid your bar association renewal yet.
On the opposing side of your ambiguous firm description, get someone who has a very basic understanding of flash to put a steady rotation of stock photos showing gavels, courthouses, pretentious lawyers, grieving victims, and money. Lots of money. It is even highly recommended that you hire a professional photographer to take a shot of said grieving victim swimming in a silo full of Scrooge McDuck money. I mean, that is the point, right? If the law was about justice, they wouldn't have the lottery element, meaning that litigation is about as much about the "law" as an Indian casino is about "gaming."
Below your two columns, on the bottom row, put your street address. Maybe a telephone number. Most bar associations require this so that they can come knock on your door and commend you on how utterly bland your website is. The bar usually requires a couple other things, too. Many jurisdictions require you to say some BS about how you aren't making any representations that your law firm is better than anyone else's. You know this is BS, the bar knows this is BS, and anyone looking at your website with blatant DuckTails references knows it's BS too, but for some reason, the BS sticks around. Who really even cares? You know you're better anyway. You have navy blue in your serif-fonted logo, for God's sake. And then cap it all off with some fine print about some copyright bullshit you made up because you're a transational firm and know nothing about IP law. No one wants to use your website. No one. No one is going to steal anything from you. Afterall, you stole most of your stock pictures from Wikipedia. Any one's use of your website will inevitably covered under Fair Use anyway, under the "parody" exception.
What you do next is as important as all the steps leading up to this. From this point on, do absolutely nothing. Never update your website. Ever. Forget you ever even had a website. "Hey, yall's firm have a website?" "Website? What website? I thought we got rid of the spider problem." If a named partner happens to leave, sit on a website overhaul for as long as possible. Many times you can string this out for months, even years. It'll have the same effect as having a dead guy's name on the door, but the dead guy can still sue you. Conveniently, the guy that left for greener pastures will never find your website, because Google hates it, is ashamed it has to post it somewhere within its search parameters, and so hides it where no one will ever look: among the blogs talking about how awesome lawyers are.
If you followed this step-by-step guide, you should have yourself a very conventional, very clean, very navy law firm website. It shouldn't have taken too long, and now you're kinda angry that you knocked out that project, and you still have another hour before you can justify taking an early lunch. Good work!