My Shingle

Would You Recognize Your Own Website from Its Copy?

by Carolyn Elefant on November 7, 2012 · 2 comments

in New Marketing Ideas, Tech & Web

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If you’ve got five minutes to spare, I commend you to join Adam Smith Esquire’s  Bruce MacEwen in a round of “Guess Which Firm’s Website?” As Bruce describes:

 The rules are simple: Pick three or four firms at random, visit their websites, and pretend you can’t see the logo identifying the firm. Try to guess which firm it is.

Bruce focused AmLaw100 websites that tout commitment to value and excellence, a collaborative and cost effective approach and other vague platitudes that don’t say much about what differentiates the firm or makes it the right choice for a particular client.  After much searching, Bruce found two website messages that he “particularly likes,” Proskauer Rose’s proposition that: So what do we bring to the table? Our approach is not simply to “represent” our clients but to get into their heads and Paul Weiss’  forty-year old promise by its founder “to achieve the highest order of excellence in the practice of the art, the science and the profession of the law.” Though I have no idea what it means to “get into a clients’ head” or whether it’s desirable (personally, it sounds a little new-agey and creepy to me), it does indeed stand apart from other bland copy.

Could you identify your website’s copy from the dozens of other sites online?  And if you could, what would it say? That you’re hard working and offer great client service (shouldn’t that be a given?) That you’re passionate (and is that necessarily a good thing; passion’s fleeting after all) or that your firm has XXX years of experience?  What makes your site different?

I’ve changed the copy of my site dozens of times in the past decade and a half that I’ve been online. The description is a work in progress that always needs work, I encapsulated the types of cases that I handle as matters of first impression and last resort.  The phrase should make clear that my strengths lie in tackling issues that no one’s ever addressed before, or that others have tried to fix and failed.

What makes your website stand out from others? Is it a clever bio, an earnest promise or an interesting quote? Post it in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you.

Note: By the way, in addition to distinguishing your website with your words, you should do so with your images also, as I’ve written here. As I wrote in that post, one of my favorite sources for photos is Shutterstock and now, I am thrilled to have an arrangement that allows me to display their photos at MyShingle at no charge.  Check them out if you’re looking for graphics for your website.


Red bowling pin photo courtesy of Shutterstock

  • shg

    The unanswered question is what any lawyer/firm could say about itself (ethically) on its website that would distinguish it from others. Clients are interested in one of two things: a guarantee and a lower cost than anyone else. They don’t care if you’re a “micro-firm” or a “mega-firm,” or caring, aggressive and committed. 

    Some woman may like the fact that you’re a solo female, but do we really want to foster lawyers pandering to prejudice? Some try to imply false suggestions, such as the former prosecutor or agency lawyers, but it only skirts ethics and deceives clients into thinking they’re buying access when they’re not.  The fact remains that there is vague platitudes are worthless, and in our zeal to market and create pretend transparency, we’ve gone nowhere.

    And therein lies the fallacy of the internet.

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