5 steps to digital leadership in legal services
The global legal digital landscape continues its remarkable transformation. The way in which your law firm operates, collaborates and delivers services to your clients will evolve in new and exciting ways, while remaining true to fundamental client-centric principles
With ground-breaking advancements in AI dominating the column inches, the winning law firms will do what the best have always done – place their clients front and centre of the experience they deliver.
Legal firms on the front foot will embrace this new era of innovation and digital disruption. They will harness the immense potential of available technology and enhance how they digitally engage with clients.
They will also gain speed in the development of integrated digital services and position themselves as far more than traditional legal advisors.
You too can deliver value and cater to your clients’ ever-changing needs through relevant, engaging and integrated digital experiences that will generate more business and improve efficiency.
This playbook will help answer a number of questions, including:
Read on to learn the steps you can take to achieve digital leadership in the exciting and evolving legal sector.
of websites use personalisation or marketing automation
of websites deliver intuitive user experiences
is the average accessibility score across the sector
of firms have an engaging landing page, 8% up from 2022
Living Group, 2023
The digital future for legal services
Following a volatile and unpredictable few years, and with the spectre of a British and European recession looming, uncertainty continues with pressures on many fronts. In saying that, navigating the future successfully will still come down to the fundamentals of gaining trust through consistency, authenticity, and client-centricity.
Get in the mind of the client
What will be the trigger that leads the client to need you?
It is important to understand where your clients begin their journey when searching for legal services. A chance event (an accident), a change in circumstances (marriage, divorce, a new level of income), a business decision (like buying or selling a company), or maybe it’s time to get a company’s legal affairs in order?
This behavioural understanding is what you can leverage to turn intent into consideration and action. You must consider the individual client profiles you wish to target. You must implement a digital content governance framework to set clear guidance on how to get the right result for them.
Navigation towards the website could start from a Google search, be triggered by a marketing email or social media post, the latest related news page, or an important update. Website traffic is a measure of success at this stage, and you can use this trigger to identify your audience’s 'legal enquiry digital footprint.'
Consider the relevant potential first steps for profiling your main visitors and curate a client journey that is directly aligned with their needs, their intent to learn, and relevant content.
Actions you can take
Decide who your key client profiles are; every website should cater to a visitor or client type. These are personas, fictional characters that represent specific target clients or other visitor types. The number of personas you need depends on the legal services you offer and/or the services you wish to target.
To begin, start with one persona and consider their search intentions, goals in their role, the needs to be served, potential frustrations, and examine any influencing forces. A one-size-fits-all client approach is not effective, and creating multiple personas is a good practice to identify client segments (within reason).
Building these personas can help curate persona parameters in which you are able to track and engage target audiences and establish a better understanding of your value proposition.
Successful law firms have shown to prioritise website content and tailored interfaces for their defined clients, showcasing a deeper acknowledgement aligned with their clients' legal issues, and demonstrating their ability to help clients succeed.
Engage with actual clients to test and validate your persona assumptions. User research, even with limited scope, can provide real-time insights into visitor behaviour and articulate critical feedback that you can utilise.
Applied in user interviews, research activities may include user journey mapping and behavioural analysis techniques, such as eye-tracking of user interface interactions, interview responses, and facial expressions. Each interview outline and engagement technique should reflect the persona type. It is essential to look beyond both existing and known target personas to potential clients for firms in growth stages as well.
This curated approach to user research can reward law firms with a prioritised and relevant series of problem statements. The objective is to observe and test user experiences of key user journeys on the website to identify opportunities for enhancements in design, messaging and functionality, turning pain points into opportunities supported by validated business cases. This practice is better known as user-centred design.
Measure how this engagement can be translated into actionable insights and information-rich data sources. The usual web metrics of visits and bounce rate are key but used in the context of the specific visitor and their initial journey. Filtering the results per persona or defining new personas can further aid understanding of the client experience.
Metrics from user testing, such as System Usability Scores (SUS) and Single Ease Questions (SEQ), can provide a proxy measure of the overall usability of the website. They allow you to compare which modules of the interface accrue the most pain points or difficulties and provide a clear indication of client attitudes towards the experience.
You can generate data-based problem definition hypotheses to start creating business-justified requirements for the next phase. This is an iterative, client-centric process, which through continuous monitoring can be enhanced over time as personas evolve and react to changes in circumstances.
Winner’s circle: Baker Mackenzie, a trailblazer in client-centric digital leadership
Baker McKenzie is a pioneer of a client-centric and insight-driven approach to digital strategy and intelligence. Through its clear and integrated social media strategy, the firm has achieved remarkable growth in its follower count, particularly on LinkedIn. Their social media efforts have significantly amplified the volume of trigger points leading to increased website navigation.
Operating within an extensive field of law, they have demonstrated relevance and market reactivity in case study content. Within hours of a headline, they are swift to develop and push engaging and relevant content. This approach has earned them praise for connecting their content and social media pipeline, underpinned by their extensive understanding of the client journey, allowing them to tailor messaging and content across channels.
The firm’s regular activity on social media conveys its leadership and expertise within the given field, instilling a sense of trust and influence amongst its audience who follow and engage with content.
Additionally, Baker McKenzie showcases their accomplishments and updates the firm’s related legal talent at every opportunity, effectively communicating the exceptional quality of their lawyers and their culture. Through engagement, users can build relationships and connect to the legal team. Their approach has not only enhanced their digital presence but also solidified their reputation as a trusted and influential force within the legal industry.