Websites

Tom Wallerstein

When lawyers form a new firm, one of their first, most important projects is usually designing their website. This makes sense because the website is often the first thing that a prospective client or referral source will see. Its importance cannot be overstated.

The process of designing a website (or printed marketing material) is considerably different for a new enterprise than it is for an established one. For an established firm, the process involves trying to portray to the outside world the essence of what the firm is and emphasize what distinguishes it from its competition.

For a new firm, however, the process is very different because you must first conceptualize what you want to be before you decide how you want to present yourself to the outside world. In this way, the website of a new firm is more aspirational than it is descriptive. For example, when a new firm proclaims that it handles practice areas A, B, and C, it often means that it intends to handle those practice areas.

This dynamic plays itself out in virtually everything a new business does. When it chooses a logo, or color scheme, or even its name, it engages in a process of self-conceptualization, imagining what it wants to be. I think that’s one reason why new businesses spend so much time, and so enjoy, focusing on relatively simple things like deciding on a logo. It’s fun to imagine your potential….

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One of the country’s best law firms no longer has one of the Internet’s worst law firm websites.

As you may recall, four years ago, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz was ranked by the American Lawyer as having one of the industry’s worst websites. According to the article, Wachtell’s website was “reminiscent of a seventh-grade history project.”

Having seen endless examples of terrible law firm websites, I’m not sure it was fair to call Wachtell’s old site one of the worst. There is no disputing, however, that it was crushingly boring.

The analogy to a middle school project was sound. The old site’s idea of spicing things up was to put its extra special passages in italics or bold — or, if they were feeling particularly crazy, italics and bold.

It seems that Wachtell has finally grasped the notion that websites should be attention-grabbing. Or at least marginally attractive.

Check out Wachtell’s transition into the modern Internet era….

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The people over a Thomas M. Cooley Law School have a long and illustrious history of inventing ridiculous law school rankings that magically show Cooley Law at or near the top. It’s pretty pathetic to make up your own ranking and rank yourself.

But now a third party has put together a ranking where Cooley has risen to the top. A Georgetown professor has ranked all the websites from ABA-accredited law schools, and Cooley’s website ranks eighth. Hey, they know how to sell themselves.

The top of the list isn’t only about law schools that are trying dazzle students into making a ruinous financial decision. The rankings mainly seem to reflect whether or not law schools care about their website at all….

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Nicki Bajaj and Nicki Minaj

Somebody please tell him who the eff I is
I am Nicki [Bajaj], I mack them dudes up
Back coupes up, and chuck the deuce up.

(I have no idea what “macking … dudes up” involves. I just hope it’s legal in the state of Illinois.)

Is Reema Bajaj, the attractive solo practitioner accused of practicing more than law, trying to capitalize on the fame of Nicki Minaj, the rapper-singer-songwriter behind such hits as Super Bass (quoted supra)? It seems that Bajaj, the comely young Illinois lawyer who’s going to trial in March 2012 on prostitution charges, has rebranded herself as “Nicki Bajaj.”

Let’s hear from a tipster, and check out the exciting new website of Reema — er, Nicki — Bajaj….

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Parents wield an unbelievable amount of power in the naming of their children. And as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility. Bizarre names can ensure that your child sits alone and friendless in the cafeteria for the better part of his formative years. Great names can spur children on to greatness.

Naming children after gods or powerful mythological figures, on the other hand, can create an unnecessary amount of pressure. These names set them up for failure. Sure, their names may make for better tattoo choices and save them from the ranks of misguided youth who think butterfly tramp stamps are good ideas. Still, unless they are blessed with extraordinary athletic ability, these children will likely lead lives full of vain attempts to live up to their names.

For instance, what would we expect from a man named Atlas? Great strength. After all, Atlas was forced to bear the weight of the entire sky on his shoulders. There’s even a World’s Strongest Man event named after him. But what do you do if you’re named Atlas and you’re not predisposed to feats of great strength? If you’re like the millions of other people in this world who don’t know what else to do, you become a lawyer. And like the great solo practitioners who have come before you, you come up with some sort of crazy shtick and a wacky website to try to set yourself apart from the masses.

Meet today’s solo practitioner, Joel Atlas Skirble. Dubbing himself “El Capitan,” Skirble, with the help of Team Atlas and his handy Atlasmobile, is saving the fine folks of Virginia and Maryland, one personal injury or criminal charge at a time….

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Size Matters, one of Above the Law’s new columns for small-firm lawyers.

I recently saw the Whoopi Goldberg commercial for Poise and I wondered to myself, why would she take part in such an ad. Maybe I am missing something, but I think it is a bad thing that we all now know that Whoopi leaks and uses an adult diaper. I know they say that there is no such thing as bad publicity, but come on.

Thanks to a reader, I was introduced to another advertisement (of sorts) that caused me pause. It is the website of New York criminal lawyer Giovanni Rosania. I think it might even be worse than Whoopi’s admission of leaking.

Find out why it is so bad after the jump….

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