When you are starting to vet a shortlist of lawyers that you were considering working with, and you’re doing all your background research, this is what to look for on a lawyer’s website.
Meet the team
Firstly, they actually need to have a lawyer’s website. There are lots of lawyers who don’t still. I personally don’t work with any professional who doesn’t have a website. I like to see the faces of the people before I go in.
So when you find their website, have a look to see whether they’ve got all their people listed. Along with the faces, you’re also looking for what areas of law they work in, whether they’ve got accreditations, whether they’re members of certain organisations and whether they have their direct contact available (like an email or phone extension).
Another thing that really frustrates me about any professionals website or any service provider is if they don’t have any emails listed and all you have is a web form to fill in. Really frustrating!
What are the ways they are available for you to get in contact, and do they hide them, or do they encourage you to contact them?
Up to date
Do they blog regularly? Are they providing information to help their clients?
That indicates a number of things. It indicates that they really want people who are more educated to work with. It also shows that they want to help people and provide as much information as they can, to make things as easy as possible for people. So it gives a little bit of an indication of the values of that firm.
If they don’t blog regularly, has the website been sitting there for 10 years without an update? It just gives you a bit of an indication of the lack of attention or time to put into these detail around their business, because ultimately the lawyer is also running the business.
Costs or fees
Do they put their fees on their lawyer website?
At least there should be some sort of statement about how they bill, if not like a menu of some fixed fee rates for certain things. If someone is not putting their fees on their website, what are they trying to hide?
List of services
If a lawyer has a relatively small firm, you don’t want to see them with 8 plus areas of service listed on their lawyer website. You really want to see someone do a few things really well.
So if a lawyer has way too many areas of practice, they’re not going to be really deeply skilled in a couple of areas. They may end up being more like a medical general practitioner, where they are the first point of call, but if you want something more detailed, you get a referral to a specialist.
These are my opinions obviously, but I don’t think that there’s any excuse about having those things on a website for a solicitor.
If you need help finding the right lawyer, there is a 5-part course in the Legally Wise Women community.