It is painful for me to look at our website.
The photos are outdated – some of our current staff aren’t even pictured. Though it feels like I just wrote a blog entry last week, I see that the last post is from 2014. There are great results to be reported, recognitions given, community involvements to be updated, videos to be posted – but it hasn’t happened.
From a business perspective, perhaps we have lost a few potential clients because of our outdated site. Looking at our website right now, a prospective client would never know that we specialize in federal while collar defense. By looking at our practice areas, it’s not immediately clear that we regularly litigate complex intersections of criminal and civil law. You wouldn’t necessarily know that we do civil litigation or plaintiff’s work. You wouldn’t see current case results. Perhaps there aren’t enough samples of our work product.
Which is all wonderful for our current clients.
Our office often feels more like a bustling hospital than an orderly, quiet law library. We are busy triaging emergencies, responding to issues faced in the lives of the real people in front of us, answering the often complex questions posed by the cases we’ve already taken on. When balancing caring for our clients, managing discovery, developing investigation strategies, researching all available legal angles, drafting case-specific motions, attending daily court appearances, and preparing for contested hearings and trials, very little time is left for the business and marketing side of running a law firm. Hence the woefully outdated website.
I suppose if I were doing a good job following the medical model, I’d be a hospital CEO with a staff of folks dedicated to actually just running the hospital. But that would ultimately mean I wouldn’t get to do what I love. If I were wearing the CEO hat more consistently and paying proper attention to marketing and advertising and the “business,” I wouldn’t also get to be the ER doc doing emergency surgery. And I really love surgery.
Ultimately, as badly in need of an update as our website is, one thing makes me proud. During a Firm retreat in 2007, we developed a set of core values that have served as a stalwart compass through today. Our most important core value is summarized in two words: “Clients first.” And I think that value still comes across on our website fairly well, even almost 10 years later.
And what that means in practice is: when confronted with any decision about what to do on a given day – like the choice between whether to spend a few minutes writing a blog post about a courtroom victory or to spend that time returning a client’s phone call – we simply refer to our core value. Clients first.
Update the attorney bios on the website? Or research and practice the cross-examination of the prosecution’s key witness for a hearing? Clients first.
Schedule new photographs for the website? Or spend several hours meeting with parents of a young adult who just relapsed after treatment? Clients first.
Maybe by 2020, little by little, we’ll be able to get our act together and finish the updates to the website. Or perhaps I’ll finally just give in and hire someone to do it for me.
Until then, just imagine all of us with a few more wrinkles and a lot more gray hair in the photos.