August 6, 2011 was the twentieth
birthday of the first website being launched. For the hundreds of
millions of hourly web users across the world, the day came and went without so
much as a piece of cake or a candle. As Mark Giangrande noted in
his August 10 Law Librarians Blog post,
the anniversary "didn't have enough impact to justify a Google
Tim Berners-Lee, a
physicist or engineer at CERN, the European organization for
nuclear research, started the "WorldWideWeb Project" in 1989. I
believe that the first known law firm website was Greg Siskind's VisaLaw site that he launched
in June 1994, although, according to Wikipedia, Heller Ehrman launched the first law
firm website in 1994 (no month noted). Heller Ehrman is gone, but
visalaw.com is alive and growing with more than 1 million hits per week from
150 countries. If not the first law firm website, Visalaw.com was
the first immigration site - and likely the first "boutique" or
specialty practice website on the Internet at the time.
Greg Siskind wrote the ABA's first
book about the Internet, called "The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the
Internet, published in the late 1990s. Greg, Rick
Klau and I co-authored the second and third editions of this book, the
latest being published in 2007 (and we're pleased to say, it's still selling).
Am I feeling sentimental about this
anniversary? A little. What strikes me is how astoundingly far
the web industry has come in these few years - especially with the
now-ubiquitous Smart Phones - yet how many law firms are still doing the
equivalent of tipping their toes in the water.
Content Pilot publishes a new iist
of Law Firm Website
Ten Foundational Best Practices each year, a list of attributes that
we started in 2005. These are must-have characteristics and
functionality, not the late-breaking, trendiest features that would only be
embraced by early adopters. In 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010 we analyzed
the AmLaw 100 websites, based on these Ten Foundational Best
Practices. The last research we conducted was in the fall of 2010 - I've
posted about the results several times on this blog. Read more about
the results here:
Given the following breakdown of
total scores, America's largest law firms have a long way to go to fully
exploit this now-twenty year old web.
Remember, these are foundational best
practices. Here is how the AmLaw 100 scored:
- Excellent - a score of 86-100. 1% (One law
- Good - a score of 71-85. 52% (52 law
- Fair - a score of 51-70. 46%
- Poor - a score of 26-50 - 1%
- Unacceptable - a score of 0-25. 0%
As we enjoy the dog days of summer
and anticipate fall budgeting, take a fresh look at your website and how you
can make it more compelling and consistent, and how you can create messages and
stories about your firm that are more dynamic, relevant and engaging.
The tools are all there.
more insight at the Law Firm 4.0 Blog.
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