Digital transformation within the legal sector

Law firms are not afraid of embracing technology

They’re using robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) to create new ways to solve client problems. They’re using new staffing and billing models to create a more nuanced and tailored service offering. Firms are finding new ways to stay ahead of the curve in terms of their thinking and their delivery.

It seems, however, that one of the best vehicles for much of this communication is struggling to keep up.

Firms are putting technologies and platforms in place to improve their digital performance, but aren’t yet applying the best practices honed in other sectors to leverage this massive asset.

This presents a huge opportunity to firms who are able to recognise the weaknesses of the status quo, orient themselves around challenges and then execute decisively.

This sector benchmark aims to help with the first point - recognition - so that firms are able to build a case for orientation and execution. This is our fourth benchmark study in the legal sector, In the five years since the first study, we have been able to see firms grapple with

these challenges. While the progress made is encouraging, there are still huge gains to be made for those with the ambition and will to forge ahead.

Summary of the report


  • 24 are optimising for multiple screens, with 10 reaching the 'excellent' grade in this category.

  • Of the six firms that don't use responsive designs, four don't even have a separate mobile site.

SEO performance

  • Only two websites have reached the 'excellent' grade for basic technical search engine optimisation.

  • Half of the websites are still not getting the SEO basics right.

Visual design

  • Few websites have changed since the previous study in 2015.

  • Most of the legal websites follow the same design trends, trying to be bold and simple.

Customer segmentation

  • Only one website reached the 'excellent' grade in customer segmentation, and 10 reached "good".

  • Firms need to be more explicit about their different office locations.

Content Marketing

  • All the firms produce content, but just three rated 'excellent' and seven 'good'.

  • Only two websites make use of video in their sector pages.

  • There is still a heavy reliance on pdf documents.

Search function

  • All the websites have an internal search function, however, just three rated 'excellent'.

  • Half of the legal firm sites don't show accurate results.

  • Only seven firms have autocomplete or predictive search.


  • This is one of the areas where most of the firms perform well.

  • Six reached the 'excellent' grade and 12 'good'.

  • Only half of the legal firm sites make use of animated transitions, instead of showing changes instantly.

Lawyer finder tool & Graduate page

  • All the firms have a lawyer finder tool in their websites, however only six reached 'excellent'.

  • Only 11 sites provide a broad name search box.

  • Lawyer emails are displayed but there is no CTA to encourage users to contact the lawyers.

  • CMS, Clyde&Co, and Herbert Smith Freehills are the best graduate pages of the top 30.

  • 19 legal firm websites use a separate site for their graduate section.

Loyalty & CRM programme

  • Loyalty proves to be the area with lowest overall scoring, with none of the websites reaching 'good'.

  • Only 11 legal form sites update their news regularly.

  • With only 13 legal firm websites offering a newsletter, email marketing needs to improve urgently.

  • Only one legal firm sent a "welcome email".


  • None of the websites rated 'excellent' and just three 'good'.

  • 'Contact us' is no longer a good CTA, (with only six websites using clear CTAs).

If you'd like to see how we could help you please call
Nick Elsom on +44 (0)20 7407 7666.