ABA Technology Survey on Lawyer Websites

In a post here last week, I wrote about findings on social networking from the 2010 Legal Technology Survey Report of the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center. The six-volume survey looks at legal-technology trends in various aspects of law practice. Volume IV of the survey covers Web and communication technology.

In this post, I’ll review some of the survey’s findings with regard to lawyer and law firm websites.

Percent of firms with sites. Overall, the number of lawyers who say their law firm has a website has changed little over the last few years. This year, 84% of lawyers said their firms have websites, compared with 85% in 2009, 83% in 2008 and 73% in 2007.

The likelihood that a firm has a website correlates to its size. Virtually all firms of 100 or more attorneys have websites (99%), as do virtually all firms of 50-99 (100%) and 10-49 (97%) attorneys. But among solo lawyers, barely more than half have websites (52%) and in firms of 2-9 lawyers, some 81% have websites.

Domain names. As you would expect, most firms’ domain names are based on the firm name. Eight percent of solos and 9% of lawyers in firms of 2-9 attorneys use a domain name that is based on a practice area rather than on the firm name; only 1% of larger firms use this type of domain name.

Most firms (60.7%) have just one domain name. Only 1.2% have 10 or more domain names.

Site management. When asked who primarily manages their firm’s website, 23% said it is one of the firm’s lawyers. Seventeen percent said an outside consultant manages the site and the same number reported having an in-house IT person manage the site. At 13% of firms, marketing staff manage their sites.

Content creation. Lawyers were also asked who creates content for their sites. Just under half (46%) said that content is created by multiple lawyers at the firm. Next most common creators of content were law firm marketing staff (31%), a single lawyer at the firm (23%), outside consultants (22%) and in-house IT staff (18%).

As you might expect, solo lawyers are the ones most likely to manage their own websites (62%) and create their own website content (85%). Large firms are most likely to leave content creation to marketing staff.

Overall, I see no big surprises in these numbers. The one finding that I would not expect is that almost half of solo lawyers do not have websites. Given how simple it is to put up a website (and given the availability of free legal websites from companies such as Justia) and given that a website is about as essential to have as a phone number and e-mail address, I wonder why so many solos are still without a site.