Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell is a 17-lawyer firm with a remarkable story to tell. Operating out of two offices in Denver and Washington, DC, lawyers’ work and clients span the U.S. Kaplan Kirsch handles the legal work for the country’s most visible and important infrastructure, transportation and landmark projects. And, its competitors are among the nation’s most prestigious law firms.
Peter Kirsch, a senior partner who was actively involved in the website redesign says, “The people who go to our website are not like most people who look for legal services. Most of our clients aren’t lawyers – they are public officials. It was very important to us that we weren’t intimidating like lawyers can sometimes be.”
He continued, “We are not traditional lawyers – we don’t look at what we do in terms of legal disciplines. It was important to us that our clients be the focus. On the new site, we wanted to convey the specific projects that we do – we didn’t want to use any stock photos at all.
“Another piece that was very important – law firm web pages tend to be for everybody. Cluttery, hard to navigate, telling visitors ‘whatever it is, we do it.’ We wanted to convey that we have a niche practice that is very deep, and it was essential that we convey this in a graphical way.”
It was also clear to us in our planning sessions that Kaplan Kirsch is not a typical law firm. Lawyers are at the top of their fields in areas that are seamlessly connected: environmental law, airports (airspace, noise, safety/security, unmanned aircraft systems – and then all the usual things, such as labor/employment, litigation and bankruptcy), and everything related to rail, highways and transportation.
Content Pilot conducted a positioning strategy session and determined that, unlike most corporate law firms, Kaplan Kirsch is project-based, not legal discipline-based as Peter Kirsch notes above. That’s how clients buy their services and how they are organized.
Content Pilot identified a distinctive website strategy that lawyers immediately embraced: “Projects that keep life moving.” This led to our decision to highlight three global navigation areas: People, Projects, Practices, with less attention on a second level of navigation, which included About Us, Careers, News & Publications.
The tagline, “Projects that keep life moving” lays the perfect foundation to showcase the beautiful client project photos; actual client projects are the backdrop for the lawyer photos, as well.
No law firm we know is organized around client work at a national level – this makes Kaplan Kirsch unique. The Practice descriptions are succinct, yet highly specific, so are also uniquely differentiating from other law firms – even those that might be competitors.
The home page before:
The new homepage features a carousel of rotating high profile client projects, which are described inside the site under “Projects.”
Firm Administrator Lorri Salyards, who served as internal project lead, tells how they obtained the unique project photos. “Some of the photos were taken by the clients themselves; others were taken by our photographer. A couple were taken by other photographers and we purchased the rights to use them. The photo of Last Dollar Ranch was taken by well known Colorado landscape photographer John Fielder.”
Kaplan Kirsch lawyers are experts in their fields – we wanted to preview this, so the People landing page gives a snapshot of the types of projects on which the lawyers work.
The project descriptions are detailed and specific, but easy for a scanning reader to consume.
And everything is available – and the experience is equally good – on mobile devices, as well, because we used responsive web design (RWD).
Peter Kirsch says “All the feedback we have gotten is positive. People say, ‘Wow, that looks different!’ or ‘That’s unique. I have never seen a law firm website that looks like that.’ We wanted people to view us in a very different light. This website achieves that.
“We view our website as a reinforcement and an affirmation of who we are and what we do. If people have heard of us, they will go to the website – we want them to say, ‘That’s what I hoped they would be like.’
“The reason we appreciated working with Content Pilot was they were people who a) listened, 2) seemed to understand what we were saying, and 3) understood how to implement the thoughts we had. Getting any one of those things is difficult when working with service providers – we didn’t think we could ever get all three.”