Written by Dan Stokes
Website practice and industry descriptions are generally used to validate your firm to begin a dialogue, where the client or potential client is seeking to qualify you for a specific and pending legal need, such as a financing transaction, white collar litigation claim, real estate acquisition, and the like.
Even though every law firm should communicate its unique brand, there are common trends and tips that will support your firm to focus and retain the attention of the reader. Following are our “Top 3” tips for drafting practice/industry descriptions for today’s market:
- Practice/industry descriptions should be brief, concise, substantive and interesting. Descriptions that used to be long and arduous are now presented in ½ to ¾ pages of tight, direct and deliberate text designed for ease of read.
- Regardless of communication style, practice/industry descriptions should be straight forward and say what you do, e. what legal services your firm specifically provides. Descriptions can include information about who your clients are, the types of problems you solve, the venues in which you practice, trends in a given area of practice/industry, as well as the specific experience of your lawyers.
- All descriptions must be SEO friendly. All phrases, words and abbreviations associated with each substantive practice/industry should be included in each description so that there is a better chance the information can be found in an organic search on Google, Yahoo, Explorer, etc.
It has been our experience, particularly for law firms, that practice/industry descriptions should be designed as both “stand alone” communications, as well as to be used in conjunction with one-another. A distinct effort to stay on point without duplicating information throughout all communications is critical and essential when inserting “canned” text into various pitches, proposals and RFPs. As a result, description length, style, voice and conventions should be standardized throughout all communications.
Identifying and including all sub-practice descriptions is imperative for SEO. Search engines are smart and know the difference between a fully developed sub-practice page or phrase mentioned in an overview. The development of the full menu of your firm’s practice, sub-practice and industry descriptions supports your chances of being found in an organic search.
Some firms can only handle mainstream or commonly used language to describe legal services, while other firms insist they want a high level of creativity — only to edit it out at the last minute in favor of a conservative and straight-forward voice. Your firm’s cultural tolerance and brand characteristics will dictate the tone used throughout practice/industry descriptions, and should be discussed and decided upon at the commencement of the project. Remember, at the onset of the project, it is far easier to develop a demo and then adapt and conform all existing and new descriptions to that format and style.