Doodlekit's free website builder comes with a lot of pre-made templates. Many of these can be used to create an attorney website design for a legal website. Doodlekit's website design tools let you alter and manipulate any template you pick. Change fonts, colors, layouts, patterns, and textures. Use our attorney website builder tools to upload your logo or crop out a banner image for your header.
Easy to use tools allow you to create informative website pages about your law firm and its practice areas. Create lawyer bios, make disclaimer pages, insert photos, and more. Build a lawyer website and blog where you can post current legal happenings effecting your clients and business. Share your thoughts on particular laws and legal practices. Post informative tips and suggestions to help readers.
Finding the right legal website builder is important. You want tools that do more than splash up some text and photos. You need advanced tools like Doodlekit's form builder to gather potential client information. Ask questions about the type of litigation they wish to pursue, which lawyer they specifically want to contact, and general contact info like their email and phone number.
More and more, solo practitioners and small law firms are using a free website maker of some sort to design, build, and maintain the content for their websites in house. In many cases, the webmaster is now either the solo practitioner herself, or is one of the attorneys in the law firm. The cost of hiring a professional web designer is prohibitive in today's extremely competitive economy. In fact, more and more, attorneys are not only responsible for maintaining their own information technology, but for doing all their own secretarial work, typing, copying, mailing, and even answering the phones. They are doing their own advertising campaigns, billing and collecting, and otherwise keeping the books. Clients are getting harder and harder to find, and they are on tighter and tighter budgets. They peruse their bills for legal services like never before. There is just no budget for non attorney staff.
With this said, the focus of this article is to highlight three very important things an attorney must be sure to include in her law firm's website when she is not only a practitioner but the webmaster and builder as well.
The legal rules of ethics regarding lawyer websites vary from state to state, but one thing is universally certain. The rules of ethics for advertising apply to websites. To the extent an attorney website advertises its services, the advertising rules of ethics for your jurisdiction must be applied. As we have expressed, each state's rules must be specifically examined to assure your law firm or solo practice's website complies with them, however, there are a few things to generally consider.
A. Name. Many jurisdictions require the attorney's names, and sometimes their bar numbers and addresses to be included on any advertising material. Websites are nearly universally considered to be "advertising material," so to be safe, your web site should always comply with your state's ethical rules for advertising.
B. Results. Attorney web site design and content should be cautious when including any text or images suggestive of the legal results the attorney or law firm can obtain. Once again, while each jurisdiction's rules vary, a lawyer is usually safe if she does not promise results in any way. Instead of saying "we will obtain favorable results 75% of the time," say, "we will strive to provide you the best representation possible." One important thing to consider is whether to include actual results. Many states do allow an attorney to publish the verdicts and settlement amounts that have actually been obtained for their clients, with the caveat that the subject client may first have to provide you with written consent.
C. Specialty. A legal website builder should be cautious when discussing his firm or attorney's specialties. Many states forbid claiming your attorney or attorneys are "specialists" in any particular field unless they have been officially certified by their state bars. Instead of saying a particular attorney is a "specialist" in a particular field or fields, it may be safer to say he "practices" is such and such fields or has a certain number of years of experience in a given area.
The practice of law is a very personal thing. Clients, especially those that are cold calling you for the first time, need to know what you look like and what you have done to become a lawyer, as well as during practice. Your photo, as well as your education, accomplishments, and practice areas in the legal field need to be set forth in your site. You have to sell yourself. A prospective client is not going to want to spend money paying a high retainer or hourly rate if your web site, or your attorney bios or photos look cheap or thrown together. Lawyer bios have to be well written. The legal website builder must not only write well, but must also present customer's visiting the firm's web site for the first time a professional look and feel.
A. Spend the money required to pay a professional photographer. Apple iPhone pictures of your legal colleagues will probably not do the trick. If it looks like you don't have the money to pay for photos from a professional studio, your prospective clients may not call you. If you can't afford quality photos, you probably don't make much as a lawyer because you aren't a very good one.
B. Spend the time needed to publish awesome bios. You don't need a professional writer to prepare biographies to go with each of the attorneys in your firm. Lawyers are great writers. So, everyone in the firm should start out by writing her own bio, and then having all of the other lawyers in the firm review and comment on them. Maybe it will take several edits and several peer reviews, but taking your time will be worth it. Remember that half of lawyer website design includes the words you use to describe your services as an attorney, who you are, and what kind of representation you will be providing your prospective clients.
On the one hand we do argue that it is worth it to pay for professional photos to be used in your attorney website design, but on the other, we are accepting the fact that budgets are tight, so one of your attorneys is ultimately responsible for the look and feel of your firm's website. However, we believe that in house attorney website design can have professional results. With the right tools and patience, your firm's site can have a professional look and feel.
A. Do your homework by looking at other law firm's web sites. You can make your lawyer website builder work for you, provided it has the easy to use tools that are available and you have the right website look and feel concept. How do you do this? Look at a number of law firm websites out there and make a list of what looks good and what looks bad. Why do certain elements of style do the trick while others simply look gaudy? What makes a firm or a lawyer look like a professional you would feel secure hiring? What look and feel exudes trust and competency?
B. Look at your own advertising material. In many cases, your firm has been around for a while. You have business cards, have been on billboards, have advertisements in the yellow pages, etc. The point is you may already have a great look and feel to your firm. There is no reason to recreate your graphics or color schemes when the work has already been done. You might already have graphics and images available from other sources which you can directly upload into your site. There is no reason to re invent the wheel!