Forget Queer Eye and the Biggest Loser. When it comes to makeovers, we’re far more entertained when Biglaw firms overhaul their websites. Especially when they involve mind games (MoFo), body shots (Ballard Spahr and Cox Smith), or hotties (Davis Polk).
Cravath previously had an Internet 1.0-type website. It was extremely basic; its sole function seemed to be to list email addresses. The dull site failed to capture the
arrogance prestige of this elite law firm.
The new site, on the other hand, does capture this aspect of Cravath. The Biglaw way is not to be the biggest, but to be the best, according to Cravath’s philosophy page:
At Cravath, we hire only the top students from the nation’s finest law schools, we train those associates through rigorous rotation of practice, we elevate partners exclusively from within and we compensate partners on a lockstep model throughout their careers. The Cravath model has been adopted by many prominent law firms and consulting firms. While some firms have abandoned the model over time to promote lateral growth and global expansion, we have not. We do not seek to be the largest firm by number of offices, lawyers or specialty groups. We promote excellence in client service, at the expense of short-term profit. We believe that maintaining a true partnership of the finest educated and trained lawyers is the single, best manner of handling our clients’ most challenging legal issues, most significant business transactions and most critical disputes.
The new site also has a newsy feel about it. Check out the front page — it looks like The Cravath Swaine Journal.
And Cravath has learned to embrace photos. At least for its partners and senior associates. Though Cravath attracts the best and the brightest young lawyers, as noted above, it doesn’t want to show them off on its website. If you’re a junior associate, no bio or photo for you on the site!
What’s up with that?
One of our tipsters says:
I see that Cravath has grudgingly entered the 21st century, Internetwise, and has a new website that shares some of the features of conventional law firm sites… Alas, it appears that associates still do not rate bios at Cravath.
Alas, indeed. But we’re more disappointed by the lack of photos. How are clients supposed to find out whether they have a hot, young team working on their case?
Not everyone at Cravath is loving the new site:
I don’t know anyone who likes the new website. Particularly Chesler’s ultra-obnoxious quote in the “meet us” section. The old site was terrible, but the new one looks like a high school alumni newsletter. It also comes off as unrelentingly snobby. It is a big step up technologically, though.
That’s probably just some bitter associate who hasn’t achieved the ecstasy of partnership at Cravath yet. One day, grasshopper, if you work really, really hard, you too might get your bio and photo on Cravath.com.
The coolest tool by far on the site is not a partner. It’s this timeline bar, letting history buffs scroll through the firm’s key historical events.
While associates’ presence on the site is limited to names, email addresses, and alma mater, their thoughts are voiced, if anonymously. From the In Their Own Words section:
“The best part of Cravath is the people—intelligent, hard-working and with a sense of humor.”
—Fifth-year Litigation Associate
Best to keep that section generic, just in case the “up or out” model doesn’t work out well for this fifth-year.
Cravath, Swaine, & Moore [official website]