Every year for the past decade, we have worked to uncover inspiration and excellence in website design for solo and small law firms. In our judgment, these are the 10 best law firm websites of 2019.
For each, we’ve identified some of the website’s strengths. And—because even the best law firm websites have room for improvement—we make some suggestions about ways they could be enhanced. We also take a look at the trends shaping website design in 2019.
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This magnificent website from Counter, the Canadian tax dispute and litigation powerhouse, is screaming fast, boasts loads of useful content (including some nifty and super-useful interactive tools), was designed for broad accessibility, and features a crisp call to action. Their logo and brand are on point, the value proposition is vivid, and they’re transparent(ish) about pricing. To top it off, we adore the “Meet the Team” page and its accessible, human bios.
We would never recommend that you copy anything, but you could hardly do better than to take cues from this website when you build your next one.
Custis Law, P.C.
First of all, the sparks emanating from the weld he’s making? Next level. Subtle, eye-catching, and sophisticated, Custis doesn’t try to do too much with its animation, satisfied instead to “just” quickly draw your eye and flame your imagination. You find a clear call to action (“How Can I Help?”), a compelling headshot, some great differentiators, and helpful tiles to describe the kinds of problems the firm can help its clients solve.
The blog is brand-spanking new—with only two posts and some cliché stock photography—and runs the risk of future neglect. This site is the slowest to load among our winners and has some accessibility errors we would like to see sorted out. On the whole, though, this website is excellent.
What do you do with a headshot? Pretty much this. This team put strong images front-and-center to anchor a clean, bold design for a clean, bold value proposition. The hero image rotates through the firm’s roster of lawyers on every visit, and we love that they’re all showing a little personality in those sly smirks. Nothing is left disordered: fonts are well integrated, images are on-brand, and even the “More” in the top navigation hides some miscellany to keep visitors focused on the most important things.
Lost in the tidiness, perhaps, is a lack of a clear call to action and somewhat clandestine contact information. But those persnickety observations aside, this is a brilliant site.
BeerAttorney.com is technically a microsite (or brand) of the also-delightful DrummLaw. That’s part of its appeal in our view. We often talk about building a site that puts your ideal client’s experience first, and this site leaves nothing in doubt on that front. Still, a microsite on its own is no special thing. This microsite is.
The bios are delicious. The clarity about the legal services they offer—particularly when viewed through the lens of a new brewery—is useful, cheeky, and well-written. Plus, they offer cool tools to highlight why they’re such a great fit: the “Pro Beerno” section, an e-commerce trademark filing website (“beertrademark.com”), subscription pricing, and a productized trademark watch service.
This site from Struble, P.A., a consumer-side insurance firm in Florida, highlights some subtle and progressive design elements we love. The animation during loading is eye-catching and nicely implemented without bogging down the overall page speed. The large firm logo looks great, and we love the animation that fades it from prominence as you scroll.
The bios themselves leave some readability and intrigue to be desired, but they do incorporate some nifty vertical text, nice icons, useful colorization, and complimentary font choices throughout. This site also features crystal clear calls to action, helpful example cases, and compelling testimonials that aren’t overcooked
If we were to nitpick, we’d say the copywriting is a bit uninspired and dense, favors the antiquated two-spaces-after-a-period gambit, and can cover topics of uncertain value to the firm’s likely readership. The blog is useful when updated, but is published only sporadically.
This is a great all-around site, and we love how the color scheme from the firm’s logo features prominently throughout the design. We’re also suckers for a good trademarked tagline (“Accelerating results for entrepreneurs”), grand fonts highlighting the firm’s service offerings, and lazy-loading testimonials that sound genuinely complimentary.
The call to action could undoubtedly benefit from more prominence, but the site leaves no real doubt about how to contact the firm. We also like that they offer different options for how readers can learn more about the firm’s services and lawyers by way of newsletter, blog, or a nice downloadable brochure.
It looks like the firm’s blogging habit comes in fits and starts, but the content is spot-on when it is updated. They’ve also chosen to use white space to nice effect. We didn’t fall in love with the team biographies, which felt dense and impersonal, and the site has its share of accessibility errors that we’d love to see fixed.
Counsel for Creators
This Los Angeles-based law firm is laser-focused on its target market, which we relish. They broadcast their purpose to the universe (“to reinvent the law firm experience for creative businesses of all sizes”), and offer a discrete list of services that they’ve carefully described in approachable detail. The firm obviously designed its services pages with its future clients in mind, and they incorporate online scheduling to great effect throughout the site. They use sharp fonts and images that play well together and appeal to the eye.
We love how they’ve sprinkled some fun throughout the site, and they’re unafraid to deploy creative media to stay on brand and approachable, including some “fun facts,” an ebook (for sale on Amazon!), and useful blog architecture to help users find what they’re actually looking for. We also love the “Creators’ Legal Program,” an affordable subscription-based set of resources, tools, and services.
Laureti & Associates, A.P.C.
This site kindof snuck up on us. Clearly, there is a lot to like. It features clean fonts, a bold color scheme, and nice use of video in the header and elsewhere. We also love that it shows some personality and non-law interests, and we’ll be damned if Tony Laureti isn’t having a great time practicing law. He’s smiling, engaged, and energized. We want to meet Tony Laureti in person (Seriously. Tony, if you’re reading this, let’s talk!).
Our initial impression, though, was moderately less enthusiastic. The site seemingly falls into some old-school customs to which we ordinarily find ourselves allergic: Themis and her scales of justice, the lawyer’s “ego wall,” and a gratuitous shot of some business cards and a gold-plated name plaque. It also has more than its share of accessibility errors, slow-ish page load times, and possibly-over-the-top video demonstrating very earnest work, very fascinated clients, and very agreeable team members, all of which might just be a bit too saccharine for some. And we’re definitely not sure about the “associates” featured in the firm’s name (what with the apparent lack of associates and all).
If all of this sounds overly critical, we don’t mean it to be. This website takes the trappings of “old” law and reimagines them in a delightful way. The firm is explicitly mission-driven, uses video and other media to show Tony’s personality (and happy clients), and makes it easy for interested clients to contact the firm and get comfortable with why they should. The blog is useful (if a bit scattershot) and the Case Results, Reviews & Testimonials, and Legal Resources sections are useful and clear. Like we said, this one snuck up on us. Well played.
Protass Law PLLC
One nice thing about “dark mode” design is that it serves as a great canvas for strategic pops of color. Harlan Protass’s law firm deploys light blue bursts and bright yellow highlight to draw you into a site that might otherwise seem a bit bland. Instead, the firm quickly trains your eyes to focus on the most important bits (“Contact Harlan,” anyone?) and nicely balances the dark, white space, and copy.
This is a powerful site. It features rocket-fast load times, helpful and compelling differentiators, and impressive testimonials throughout. The case results page is really well done (which is particularly important for direct-to-consumer practice areas like criminal law), and the Press & Publications section is a nice blend of mostly-tasteful #humblebrag self-promotion and broader commentary. The self-promotion here seems fairly well balanced and isn’t mere puffery; Mr. Protass has published (or been featured) on Slate.com, HuffPost, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal (among others).
This website’s SEO is a bit weak, and we don’t love “hamburger” navigation when viewing sites on our desktop, but these aren’t deal breakers, particularly because users know and understand hamburger navigation, leaving the overall user experience untarnished.
We just love this simple Squarespace site from JLongtin Law, a criminal defense firm in Denver. (In the interest of full disclosure, Jennifer Longtin attended LabCon and is a Lawyerist Lab member). While it is unclear to us whether this is a do-it-yourself site or one created by a professional, we love that you could do it if you needed to.
Light on bells, whistles, or adornments, this site just oozes personality and warmth. The staff bios are short on personal embellishments (except for Ms. Cherpes’ totally relatable love for brunch, mountains, and seasons), but they are long on offering comfort, credibility, and expertise. The orange-meets-grayscale vibe is an alluring one, too.
The comprehensive services offerings include flat-fee pricing, the firm’s “CARe program”—which they have aimed at making headway on the sticky problem of the affordability of quality legal services—and highlights the firm’s dedication to representing the homeless, among other things. Like the rest of the site, the “Firm Events” section is simple, clear, and useful.
This site isn’t intended to “win” at everything. It is just a very basic, beautifully-designed, well-implemented, client-focused website from a turnkey website provider. If you’re looking for inspiration for your new website without worrying about breaking the bank, this is it.
Website design can be a trendy pursuit. As architects are to homeowners, website designers are to business owners. Designers that truly love their craft love to play around with new toys, tools, and trends
The trendlines for 2019 have started to crystallize.
Mobile-first. Cutting-edge websites are “mobile-first” sites that probably offer some blend of inspired aesthetics like micro animations, brilliant colors and color gradients, “dark mode,” geometric shapes, hand-drawn typography, oversized headlines, serifs, video headers, departure from the classic grid (including horizontal and vertical text), minimalism,
Functionality. User experience and functionality are trending, too. For example, the best new websites reflect deeper and more comprehensive brand integration, personalized experiences, voice user interfaces (“Siri! I need a lawyer!!!”), simplified authentication when users log in, the rise of gestures, and new-wave navigation (like bottom navigation, for example).
UX. Perhaps our favorite new “trend” is a conscious effort to incorporate so-called “UX writing” and “UX editing” into comprehensive website design. For the uninitiated, UX is shorthand for user experience, traditionally the bailiwick of the software design crowd. But users “experience” writing and editing on your website, too, and being conscious about improving the utility, ease of use, and—dare we say?—
None of these things will carry the day. Even the “coolest” website can’t rescue glacial load speed, accessibility errors, a tone-deaf deficiency of client-centered design, kludgey navigation, dry (or nonexistent) team bios, or pixelated images of mahogany desks and the scales of justice
Similarly, most flaws aren’t absolute deal-breakers. Some of the best law firm websites (even in 2019) still fail to put accessibility front and center. Some have eschewed meaningful content. Some have load times bordering on vexatious. And we still have disturbing and persistent troubles surfacing websites—and law firms, for that matter—that reflect diverse teams, diverse ownership, and diverse clients.
As with many things, lawyers’ websites expose our profession’s somewhat cautious adoption curve. Even the best solo and small law firm websites in 2019 don’t incorporate most of the newest website design trends we’ve outlined above.
Still, there are some crucial best practices. Here are the table stakes:
- intuitive navigation;
- moderate (at least) attention to SEO;
- reasonable load speed;
- consistent style (color scheme, logo, fonts, visual style);
- a clear focus for each page;
- a clear goal for each page;
- responsive design, including clickable elements large enough for mobile;
- fluid images;
- proactive accessibility; and
- deference to some common design standards, including logo
topleft, contact information top right, a stretch menu across the top of the screen (probably), a clear value proposition high on the homepage, and a clear call to action (or “CTA”) high on the homepage.
Room for Improvement
As we are wont to do, we noticed a few things while looking for this year’s best law firm websites. You may notice that these are not new or emerging opportunities.
Copycats. Is it just us, or have boxing gloves replaced the scales of justice as the most popular image on law firm websites? On some level, copycat website design makes sense; recreating the proverbial wheel is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. But flash some personality, would you? There must be something unique about your law firm or the clients you’re trying to serve, right? What is it? How can you bring it out as an element of your design?
Call to action. It’s also important to make sure that your call to action is clear and obvious on the page. What do you want visitors to your website to do? Do you want them to call you? Set up an appointment through your online scheduling tool? Read more about their particular legal issue on your blog? Join your mailing list? Be crystal clear about what you want them to do, then drive them to do it (in a non-coercive way, of course). Don’t force your visitors to think about what to do
Blah-gs. Content is crucial. We’ve been over this. It is a key aspect of a sound inbound marketing strategy and an inspired approach to client-centered design. But the blogosphere is a battleground rife with detritus. Chronological blogs are brutal to navigate without tags or some other useful scaffolding. Neglected blogs look sad. Too-shallow blogs make you look, well, too shallow. Our parents told us from our earliest days that “anything worth doing is worth doing well.” Some folks must not actually believe that their blog is worth doing, because they sure aren’t doing it well.
Bios. Oy. That wall of text is brutal. Even if you are a bona fide rock star, burying the most interesting tidbits about you in a 400-word expectoration renders it unreadable and, as a result, completely useless. After all, it’s a bio, not a CV! We double-dog dare you to juice up your bio. Tell us your title and what you do. Share a professional accomplishment or two. Describe your values and how they have shaped your career and your business. Tell your readers who you are outside of work. Share an anecdote, your favorite GIF, a personal story, or a picture of your corpulent pet hedgehog. Just do something other than telling people the name of the (irrelevant or otherwise) journal you edited 17 years ago. You’re killing us.
A Word About Process
We owe a deep debt of gratitude to several people who have made this annual rundown of the best law firm websites possible. Ten years ago, Karin Conroy inspired and delivered our first edition. She has dutifully and enthusiastically joined that effort every year since, and we’re deeply grateful. Gyi Tsakalakis, Andrew Cabasso, Cari Twitchell, and others have joined her along the way.
This year, for our 10th edition, our team decided to take the process fully in house, and we have enjoyed it immensely. To the extent you disagree with our judgments or take issue with the selection and vetting process, that disagreement is purely a reflection of losing decades of collected website design experience from our process. Thank you, Karin, Gyi, Andrew, and Cari. You were missed, and we’ll do our level best to honor your legacy.
In the past, we have considered a boundless universe of websites. Because this exercise is designed to inspire you and highlight useful trends, that made some sense. But we also recognize that our tribe is made up of solo and small firm lawyers in the United States and Canada, so we decided this year to limit the contest to firms with those demographics. (We also tried to limit things to firms with fewer than 15 lawyers).
Find a Great Law Firm Website Designer
It can be frustrating to figure out how to get a good website that is tailored to your budget, needs, and goals. People have been asking us for recommendations for a decade now, so we’ve decided to make that process easier. Fill out our free needs assessment and we will make a personalized recommendation for you. We’ll email you an introduction to a law firm website designer we’ve custom-picked for your firm’s needs and budget.
Interested in submitting your website to next year’s contest? Look for our call for nominations the first week in January.