Best Law Firm Websites: Flawless Brand Design Attracts Clients

June 14, 2023

Part 1 — A Guide to Peak Performance

We cannot overstate the importance of having a first-class law firm website.

Your website is the face of your firm’s online presence, the heart of your digital marketing, and often the first experience future clients have with your brand. It needs to be exceptional.

A beautiful, well-designed and thoughtfully-engineered website is a must for growing your law firm. It makes all your marketing and business development efforts easier, faster, and more effective—from client acquisition to thought leadership, from recruitment to PR.

Lynn Foley, CEO, fSquared Marketing

Invest in Your Clients with an Exceptional Website

As technology evolves, people expect more from websites. The legal marketing landscape is changing rapidly, and your most successful competitors are investing in lucrative, future-proof sites. Firms that underestimate the power of their online presence risk getting left behind.

But what will top-tier law firm websites encompass in 2024 and beyond? At fSquared, we work exclusively with clients in the legal industry, building on our experience from when we worked in-house at major law firms. We know what it takes to create exceptional websites that attract new clients, build confidence in your existing clients, and guarantee a great experience for your legal marketing team.

In this guide, we share our top solutions for investing in a first-class website. Keep reading for a glimpse at the features behind the best of the best:

1. Attract Clients through Flawless Brand Design
2. Engage Current and Future Clients with a Friction-Free Experience 
3. Outrank Your Competitors with Compelling Content and SEO
4. Streamline Your Team’s Website Management Experience

Don’t Underestimate the Value of Your Online Presence 

The majority of clients (57%) start their search for a lawyer without asking around for recommendations, according to a 2019 report by Clio. Many people turn to search engines (17%) or visit law firm websites directly (17%); others look at lawyers’ blogs and social media posts. 

Referrals will always remain an essential source of new business for many law firms. According to that same Clio report, 59% of clients ask for referrals from family and friends (32%), or other lawyers (16%) and non-legal professionals (9%). But even clients who begin their search this way are likely to visit websites to vet recommendations. A Martindale-Avvo report shows that 45% of people who received a personal referral visited that lawyer’s website before making contact.

This means you can’t afford to rely on word of mouth alone

Law firm blogs, articles, and thought leadership pieces also play a key role in engaging future clients, who may be at an earlier stage in their purchasing journey. 96% of people seeking legal advice use a search engine to get help and find answers, according to a Google Consumer Survey. These types of searches may link to blog posts from you or your competitors that address the questions they have. If you don’t have this type of content, you could be missing opportunities to build credibility with clients from the moment they hit the “search” button.

In this guide to peak website performance, we’ll walk you through some essential considerations to help your law firm outshine the competition.

1. Attract Clients through Flawless Brand Design

First impressions matter, and appearances have the strongest influence on people.

Users form opinions about websites in less than a second, according to a Google study. This means that law firm websites need to make a stellar first impression. Only then will visitors take the time to engage with a website’s content.

One British study found that 94% of initial impressions for online health websites were related to design and visual appeal. Poor design created immediate feelings of mistrust, leading to website abandonment. When landing on websites they found unattractive, participants left quickly, rarely exploring beyond the homepage.

Aesthetics have the most powerful and immediate impact on the way clients experience your law firm. The best websites feature beautiful design, stand out from the competition, and seamlessly integrate your firm’s unique brand throughout.

Peter Figasinski, Art Director, fSquared Marketing

A screenshot showcasing a lawyer bio on the Rush Ihas website.

Make the Brand Experience Your #1 Priority

Is your law firm innovative? Traditional? Warm and caring? Fierce and focused? Your brand identity is far more than just your logo: Brand experiences give future clients a sense of your values, how you solve problems, and what they can expect when they hire your firm. Your brand creates a mental shortcut with strong instinctive associations, allowing you to stand out in the crowded marketplace. 

What you may not realize is that your brand and your law firm are one and the same, from your clients’ perspectives. People don’t distinguish between your brand and your website, or even between your brand and your law firm. To your clients and future clients, every interaction with your firm is part of the brand experience—from attending a seminar at a conference to skimming through lawyers’ bios.

This is why your brand needs to be the cornerstone of your website design, from images and typography to navigation structure. When visitors land on your homepage, they should feel like they are being welcomed into your office. The connection needs to be that immediate and genuine.

A screenshot show the Reynolds Mirth award-winning law firm website

Remember the Best Law Firm Websites Focus on the Brand

Many law firms focus most of their attention on the features they want in a new website, while giving too little attention to the brand experience. Both are important, but one thing the best websites have in common is that the brand comes first. Your site needs to invite visitors to stay before they will engage and appreciate the content and features of your website.

Daniel Kahneman, the psychologist who won the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics, famously observed that people make decisions using “heuristics”—more commonly known as mental shortcuts—whenever possible. 

The answer to a simple question—how do I feel about this—is a proxy for the answer to a much more difficult question—what do I think about this?

Daniel Kahneman

Reason often comes into play only after a subconscious decision has been made, to rationalize an intuitive preference. Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind, suggests that the reasoning mind “thinks it’s the Oval Office when actually it’s the press office.” In other words, people are storytellers, not logical decision-makers. As humans, we often spin our own stories about how we reached a decision, overattributing the role of logic while downplaying instinct.

The fact that people tend to rely on fast, intuitive thinking even when making important decisions is part of human nature. Decisions often involve too many factors to employ anything close to pure logic, and mental shortcuts save us time and effort. It may take a website visitor many hours, even days, of reading through legal content and lawyer bios to decide which lawyer is best for their needs. It is much quicker and easier to rule out law firms with websites that are unattractive and outdated in favour of ones that are aesthetically appealing and contemporary. Consciously curating your audience’s brand experience can work in your favour, helping future clients intuitively understand how your brand may be aligned with their preferences.

Key Takeaway

Your website needs to be beautiful, and it also needs to be distinctly yours. This means creating your website as part of a complete brand experience. Don’t ignore design and don’t cut corners: It’s a foundational part of how people view your firm. We can help you create a website with a first-class brand experience that entices visitors to stay and engage. It may even be the deciding factor in a close contest between your firm and a competitor.

Check out the brand and website our team designed for Larson LLP.

A screenshot from Larson's award-winning law firm website
A screenshot of the team page on the Larson website

Learn More from Our First-Class Website Experts

Passing the test of making a stellar first impression is just the beginning.  Over the next few weeks, find out how we can help you invest in your law firm’s growth, and lighten the load of building a top-tier website:

2. Engage Current and Future Clients with a Friction-Free Experience 
3. Outrank Your Competitors with Compelling Content and SEO
4. Streamline Your Team’s Website Management Experience

Are you ready to take your website to elite status? Get in touch with our team today.

Lynn Fitzpatrick Foley
Fitzpatrick Foley

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