Posted by: johnocunningham | December 31, 2013

Best Blogs of November: AmLaw 100 Websites

This is my 15th post in a series of monthly features that I have dubbed “Best of My BlogRoll.” The concept is simple – each month I peruse my own blog roll (see that column on the right) for material created by other bloggers that I think is most worthy of sharing with others, and then I report on it here.

For the month of November, I have chosen to highlight a Nov. 11 post about AmLaw 100 Websites. This data-rich post was presented by The Law Firm 4.0 Blog, which is written by Deborah McMurray of Content Pilot.

Deb neatly summarized in her post some of the key findings from a recent survey of users who sampled the content at AmLaw 100 law firm Websites, and she offered up some nice colored pie charts to help illustrate the data.

The single biggest thing I took away from this post was that survey respondents graded law firms very poorly on coming up with clear statements of market differentiation and positioning strategy. Respondents gave law firms only an average score of 39.1 (on a scale from 1 to 100) for content that accomplished the goal of differentiation and sound positioning.

The survey results are consistent with my own experience as a consumer of law firm content, and they are consistent with complaints I hear from General Counsel and other users of law firm Website content.

Of course, there is some exceptional law firm Website content that serves to differentiate from competitors, including:

But sadly, most law firms still remain stuck in their obsession with what everyone else is doing. They are afraid to “step out” and they are afraid to look different, despite the fact that looking different – in a positive way – is the key to turning a prospect into a client.

It is interesting to note that each of the firm pages referenced above were published by firms of trial lawyers known for taking on tough cases, being willing to go to trial and often winning. The lawyers in these firms are, by their very nature, willing to stand up and stand out. They have the courage to go to trial in tough cases (which not all litigators do) and that same courage seems to facilitate their willingness to state who they really are and how they are different from competitors.

It might take a while for the rest of the profession to catch up, but they have no choice. Law firms need to differentiate not only from each other to win sophisticated clients now, but they need to differentiate from the growing throng of non-law firm competitors (accounting firms, consulting firms, mediation and dispute resolution firms, etc.). Better get with it law firms – the clock is ticking and clients are getting more, not less demanding.

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