A Million Dollar Website

California mega law firm, Morrison Foerster is MoFo, and this (above) is its website.

Understandably, the site might confuse you since mofo has more widely recognized, colloquial meanings.  But Morrison Foerster ranks first in search for “mofo.”

The Mofo website cost one million to build, claims Above the Law.  Was it worth it?  Above the Law trashes the site in a  hilarious review but I have to admit that the clean design and originality of site (as well as the little graphics and puzzles – see ATL review for details) wowed me at first.  Until I realized that my opinion of the site really doesn’t matter; it’s what clients think that counts.

So what would a client think about the MoFo site?

Well, for starters, some clients might not even be able to read it.  After asking around on one of my listserves, seems that many people can’t read white on black (which is how the interior of the site is designed) and skip over any site with that kind of text.  Others couldn’t experience the full effect of the MoFo site (which is flash based) since they’ve disabled flash from their browsers.  Spending a million dollars on a site that a large percentage of prospective, or more importantly existing clients can’t read or otherwise fully appreciate doesn’t come across as particularly client friendly.

Nor does the site provide much in the way of resources for clients, or an opportunity to gain insight into how the firm’s lawyers write or think.  The firm doesn’t have any blogs, and the resources – newsletters, client alerts and the like (accessible through the “resources link” on the toolbar), but all are in PDF format.  Thus, users must go to the trouble of opening a document to find content instead of being able to access it on the screen or through an RSS feed.

Admittedly many clients might find the MoFo site innovative or distinctive and therefore assume that MoFo practices law with similar flair and creativity — which was presumably the site’s intent.  But if clients discover the million dollar price tag, they’d think twice.  It doesn’t take much creativity to design a fancy website or handle a complicated legal matter on a million dollar budget.  The real test of creativity is what a firm can accomplish when clients don’t have unlimited dollars to burn.