First Impressions | Asian Legal Business

William McLaughlin, Mark Chan, Duyen Ha Vo, Zippora Siregar, Jason Corbett, Owen Williams, Sophie Bowkett

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began shuttering offices, more people have been going online in search of legal solutions. This has drastically increased the importance of firms’ digital shopfront – the website – as it is their best shot to make an impactful first impression on potential clients. Leaders and business development specialists talk about how they are pulling out all the stops to outshine their competitors even before any legal work is involved.

 

WHAT ARE THE PHILOSOPHIES AND PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS UNDERPINNING YOUR FIRM’S WEBSITE DESIGN STRATEGY?

 

WILLIAM McLAUGHLIN, business development manager, ZICO Law Network

It should go without saying that the most important role of a law firm’s website is to provide useful and concise information for users with clear calls to action. If firms aren’t treating their websites as sales tools, then they are doing it wrong.

You often see websites that are focused only on the firm. There is page after page describing the firm and why they are “unique” but scarcely any demonstration of how its lawyers solve clients’ challenges. The best firm websites do this with short case studies, video intros and explanations from lawyers, and downloadable checklists and other resources.

A hint: No one is going to read that 1,000-word legal update, so cut out all the legalese, break it up into bite-sized sections and turn it into multiple blog posts that are repurposed on the firm’s social media channels.

Another aspect of the website that is overlooked is the branding. There should be consistency across all digital channels and collaterals. You can also drop all the stock imagery and hire a professional photographer to take pictures of the office and staff. Show what it feels like to be a firm client.

In the end, a safe guiding principle would be to focus the design and content more on the client and their issues and less about how great the firm is. If you do the first part right, the second part will be understood.

 

MARK CHAN, managing partner, Taylor Wessing

In the last few years, Taylor Wessing set out an ambitious growth strategy. We recognised that to enable future growth, we must be truly digital-first in order for Taylor Wessing to keep up with ever-changing consumer behaviour in an interconnected digital environment. This included modernising our marketing and refreshing our brand with a striking new visual identity and website.

We updated the website with a mission to make it easier for users to learn more about our services, access expert legal support and keep up to date on the latest legal developments, including:

  • Creating a content library to house a plethora of legal insights, opinions and thought leadership content. This helped to establish our lawyers as expert advisors across our key sectors. Furthermore, the new content improved SEO performance by raising Taylor Wessing’s digital presence;
  • Enhancing personalisation to enable our clients to access information relevant to their region. By increasing our relevancy, we improved the overall user experience;
  • Improving search functionality and implementing URL breadcrumbs across the site, making it easier for users to navigate our website;
  • Improving the lawyer profiles by increasing the ways to contact lawyers and adding detail about specialism to allow users to make an informed choice on legal support based on our experts’ marketing leading experience; and
  • Encouraging an omnichannel approach to the website, connecting the dots between various social channels, and improving analytics to benefit from data-led insights.

 

DUYEN HA VO, chairperson, Vilaf

Our strategy is to focus on the interest of our clients and potential clients.

We avoid clutter and lengthy texts, and provide strong images and clear, concise messaging, keeping in mind that our clients and potential clients are very busy and dynamic executives. The structure of the website is simple, straightforward, and easy to navigate.

We target to serve our clients and potential clients with important legal updates and legal trends, and regularly touch base with clients to share our firm’s and our people’s stories, professional achievements and what we are doing.

On the landing page of our website, we wanted to show Vilaf’s linkages in the world with an interesting video clip while incorporating Vietnamese images into the rest of the website’s design to depict our culture. This best shows what Vilaf is all about: a law firm with deep roots and wide reach.

 

ZIPPORA SIREGAR, managing partner, William Hendrik & Siregar Djojonegoro

Within the legal sector, a firm’s website is important as it represents its culture and credibility. A good website design should portray the background, philosophy and values of the firm and highlight the legal expertise and reputation , which are important for visitors to learn and understand the firm.

The core philosophies underpinning our firm’s website design strategy are efficiency, cohesion and credibility, which are aimed at satisfying the demands of the modern business environment. We designed a simple yet modern design for our website that represents our firm’s strong value of professionalism. We also created a concise and cohesive website to ensure that visitors could find the information they are looking for much faster and clearer. Additionally, the navigation bar helps the information on the website to be more organised and accessible.

Through our website design, we aim to show how much we value communication with our clients. We have created a chatbot on our website to enable visitors to reach out and communicate with us easily.

 

JASON CORBETT, managing partner, Silk Legal

Silk Legal has always upheld the philosophy of “thinking outside the box” and pushing past the status quo when it comes to creativity and developing tools to further expand our business.

Our firm recently launched a separate, but closely affiliated, website to compete in the saturated field of company formation and corporate support services in Thailand. MyThaiCompany.com offers personalised incorporation, accounting, and company secretarial services for foreign entrepreneurs and investors in Thailand. This new website aims to add value to businesses by helping clients navigate the complex requirements of setting up and maintaining a local company, while maintaining Silk Legal’s USP of having lawyers advise on these comprehensive services.

MyThaiCompany.com was designed not as a separate business from Silk Legal, but rather as a complimentary platform that utilises the resources and expertise of the firm. With this in mind, we decided to pursue a design language and copywriting style that made information about the various processes and services as digestible and easy to understand as possible. We also incorporated best practices in structuring and calls-to-action to ensure that any interaction with the website is as smooth as possible.

We also added a corporate formation survey that serves as a tool for both prospective clients and us. By inputting information about their business into the survey, a user can get a better idea of what they need to set up their business. At the same time, the information provided by the user can give us a clearer understanding of their business needs and makes it much easier for us to provide bespoke solutions.

Entrepreneurship is one of Silk Legal’s core tenets, and MyThaiCompany specifically targets pain points that affect entrepreneurs and investors. Its core aim is to provide exceptional service to clients wishing to expand or start their businesses in Thailand.

 

OWEN WILLIAMS, partner and marketing & business development director, Simmons & Simmons

When we embarked on developing our website, we were clear that the site had to support our vision to deliver smarter solutions to our clients’ most complex challenges. Our culture, personality and brand had to shine through. 

Content needed to be timely, readily surfaced, and easy to share with clients. We needed to promote our key sectors and areas of expertise by bringing them into focus. The experience must be valuable offering opinions, not just options, with practical support, tools and products to reach a solution. The list of requirements was long, but one of the fundamental objectives for us was that it had to be built on cutting-edge technology.

The digital landscape is ever-changing and evolving, so we wanted to build a site that could keep pace with today and tomorrow. We now focus on improving our customer journey through enhanced interactivity, accessibility and site search. To become a next-generation law firm, we must place innovation and technology at the core of our client offering.

 

SOPHIE BOWKETT, chief marketing officer, Bird & Bird

Over the last decade, our clients’ world has changed, and we have changed, but our website and brand didn’t always reflect that. We needed to better showcase our unique “one firm” culture, our technical understanding of clients’ issues, and needed a more emotive brand that showed our clients that we are with them and alongside them.

Our new brand strategy and visual identity marked an exciting and bold shift from a “traditional law firm” to a bright, fresh look and feel. As an international law firm with almost 3000 people in 31 offices, this represented a significant and once-in-a-generation undertaking. We brought the brand to life through a new website that focused on providing an improved user experience, clearer navigation, and a more dynamic design. The changes resulted in a 30% increase in website visitors post-launch and a click-through rate four times higher than average on our social media channels. 

Marcy Willis

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