2018 Winners – Technology Management: Website Design and Development – Projects Between $85,001-$185,000
Burns & Levinson LLP
Burns & Levinson
Summary: Burns’ 12-year-old website was woefully outdated in every way (technically, visually, etc.). Most critically, the site’s look and messaging was in direct conflict with how the firm perceived and marketed itself, and how clients experienced the firm. The goal was to capture the firm’s entrepreneurial, forward-thinking, hands-on personalized approach to every client’s business and personal needs and to differentiate the firm from competitors. The new website exceeded the goal.
Burns spent one year redesigning its website, including extensive market and client research. The result: a site built around the clever, dual concept of “Amazing Clients,” which echoes the firm’s decades of serving clients who are amazing at what they do and Burns’ ability to amaze clients. A new deep purple circle logo set the tone for the circular theme that is central to the site and the amazing clients theme. Boundaries pushed: 1. Burns did something completely different than competitors by making clients the site’s centerpiece. 2. The website’s primary focus is on collaborative “amazing client/amazing firm” stories, which requires a huge, ongoing commitment from Burns to keep them current (these change every two weeks on the homepage). 3. Burns creatively divided its practice groups into “Your Business” and “Your Life” sections and used the circle to bring the two together to showcase Burns’ holistic and novel approach to serving clients in both their business and personal life.
The new website reinvigorated Burns at every level. Once the site accurately reflected the firm’s heart and soul, it brought a new sense of pride, respect and enthusiasm. Living and breathing the amazing clients mantra has become the underlying fabric of the firm. Everyone is part of the client experience and makes it the forefront of their daily work. A strong website is crucial to business development and recruiting. Burns now looks like a major player — a key issue for a mid-size firm competing with much larger firms. Site visits have increased by 45 percent and visitors spend more time on the site. RFPs have increased by 20 percent, and the close rate has improved by 15 percent. Recruiting efforts have soared, leading to double digit hiring of laterals in 2017 – more than in the past 15 years. Burns went from blending in to standing out in a very competitive marketplace. Most importantly, the firm uniquely stands for something (amazing clients) that reinforces why clients choose and stay with Burns.
Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC
Summary: Levenfeld Pearlstein's goal was to create a website that answered questions it knows potential clients ask when hiring an attorney: Do you work with people like me? Can you solve my problem? Will I have a good experience? These questions provided inspiration and guidance for the site’s content and design. To answer these questions, Levenfeld Pearlstein knew it would have to share information most firms keep close to the vest. But that fulfilled another goal: to inspire an industry shift in what clients demand from law firm websites.
Levenfeld Pearlstein's website is where its clients’ experience begins. The earliest sketches of LP’s new homepage had the About Us|Our Clients layout as seen today. Providing two main entrance points allowed visitors to determine what was most important to them: learning about LP or the people and companies with which the firm works. While the site is sophisticated in design and functionality, more importantly, it is smart and strategic. Levenfeld Pearlstein leveraged its value of transparency externally to maximize the experience its audience has with it online. For example, if the firm knows one of the first questions every potential client has is, “How much is this going to cost me?”, including a page that discussed the firm's approach to pricing was a must, as was making it a top-level page titled “Pricing.” The firm did not want to bury this information. By including pricing information, Levenfeld Pearlstein became the first law firm and among a small percentage of professional services firms to be transparent about pricing and other critical client data.
One of the firm's main goals was to drive change in the industry, and high-profile media coverage of the site shortly after its September 29, 2017, launch affirmed that goal. In an ABA Journal article about the new LPlegal.com titled “Chicago-based Levenfeld Pearlstein Goes for Open-Book Approach on Website,” Kent Zimmermann, an influential legal industry consultant with Zeughauser Group, was quoted as saying LP’s approach could catch on with other firms. “I think what will happen in many firms is that when partners consider a new website, some will look at [what Levenfeld Pearlstein] has done and want do something like that, but others won’t. But it will inspire some conversations.” Additionally, the firm hoped that creating content visitors actually wanted would compel them to stay longer and engage with more content. Comparing new visitors to the site from November 2016 versus November 2017, Levenfeld Pearlstein saw a 99 percent increase in time spent on the site. The bounce rate also fell more than 10 percent.
Keker, Van Nest & Peters lLP
Keker, Van Nest & Peters Website Refresh
Summary: The goals of this project were to add more authenticity to the site with photos of Keker lawyers in their environment. The firm’s historic office in San Francisco, which features brick and timber architecture, exposed ductwork, and an eclectic modern art collection, serves as the site's backdrop. The firm also wanted to move the site in a more contemporary direction. Keker was careful to avoid sterile conference room scenes and generic glistening cityscapes, because that’s not representative of its culture.
The website refresh project kicked off in late December 2016, and launched August 1, 2017. Right Hat consulted on design, and Tenrec did the buildout. The firm had a group of three lawyers (a partner, an associate and its managing partner) and three staff (director of administration, director of recruiting, and director of marketing) working as a committee to make decisions. Firstly, Keker made the not-so-easy decision of switching its web domain from kvn.com to keker.com. One of the most significant changes to the site was photography. The firm hired Gary Wagner, and took 20 group/candid photos to use throughout the site and 85 individual photos for lawyers’ bios. The homepage has four images that rotate periodically as the page reloads; the careers main page features three rotating images. These photos are incorporated on the firm's social media pages – Facebook and LinkedIn. The firm is now actively using those pages to share news and drive traffic back to its site.
In addition to the site serving as a better visual representation of the firm, its lawyers and culture, the web analytics show some impressive results. Since August 1, and compared to the same time period last year:
- Pages are loading 40 percent faster than previous
- People are spending 21 percent more time on the site and 28 percent more time on bio pages
- Services landing (formerly practices) saw a 77 percent increase in traffic, with practice pages seeing a 48 percent increase
- Traffic from search is up 8 percent
- The news section saw a 5 percent increase in traffic, and the news landing page saw a 179 percent increase
- Careers section saw a 37 percent increase in traffic, with a 44 percent increase on the landing page
- About us page has seen a 101 percent increase in traffic