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Taking the digital plunge

Taking the digital plunge


Clients don't want out-of-date advice and do want an up-to-date lawyer online, says Russell Conway

Many years ago we put up our first ever website, and like a comfortable pair of slippers, even though it became out of date and in dire need of repair, we were reluctant to tamper with or improve it. Rather ancient and in need of a good reworking, it lingered on.

Now we have a brand spanking new website, however. We took the plunge and decided to change everything and now the new site looks rather good. Even if I do say so myself.

The process we took this time was rather different than before. We injected more of our own ideas and we were fortunate in having a solicitor who knew a good deal about website construction. His hard work and dedication meant we were always in a position to feed in our ideas and ensure the end product was what we wanted.

When putting the project out to tender we were rather bamboozled by price. We received several quotations in the region of £20,000 – a high fee for the amount of work involved. Other firms quoted a lower fee but were reluctant to do the amount of work that we were keen on. We were difficult clients to please. In the end we got the project in for a fraction of the amount quoted.

We were insistent on an intranet which would allow our team to deal with holiday requests and appraisals. Eventually, we want to make our office paperless for HR and Lexcel matters. We also wanted a few add-ons, like the ability for clients to pay us online. Most important was an ability to let us tinker easily with the site. We needed a back-end that was easy to manoeuvre, but not all the website companies were keen on that. Several preferred to keep control of the site.

Obviously design was something we fed ideas into. I wanted to keep the Oliver Fisher flamingos. I wanted the site to look colourful and funky. We are not a large firm, more of a boutique. So many solicitors’ sites look rather dated, a bit stuffy, and that has never suited our image. We like to think we are small, agile, and have the ability to change without having 20 partners’ meetings.

Word is that something like 80 per cent of new clients looking for a lawyer simply Google solicitors in their area. Surprisingly, we are told that 75 per cent of those searches now take place on a mobile device. The day of the desktop computer is coming to an end. Having a site which is contemporary, easy on the eye, informative, and useful is key. Clients don’t want out-of-date advice and want an up-to-date lawyer.

We also wanted a site that was not only useful for the clients but useful for our team of lawyers.

We are now doing in-house SEO, something that external organisations charge an arm and a leg for. It’s actually not that complex. Beware of snake-oil salesmen that promise the earth and deliver not a lot.

We are boosting our footprint on Google and doing the most we can to push new enquiries in our direction. When measuring our statistics on Google it is good to see that Cosmo, our office Labrador, is still getting a few hits.

Russell Conway is senior partner at Oliver Fisher