Your website is the first destination for prospective clients who are considering your law firm in their quest for legal representation. But when it comes to evaluating your law firm’s chops, your prospects won’t just take your word for it. They’ll look for proof that the claims you make about your firm hold water. Which means that, like all consumers, they will place a lot of weight on a phenomenon called “social proof.” This includes the awards, PR mentions, reviews, and other accolades from “objective” third parties that attest to your firm’s brilliance.
You know this already. Which is why you are so eager to showcase your awards and accolades on your law firm’s website. And you may be thinking that when it comes to exhibiting your firm’s “trophies,” there’s no wrong way to go about it.
But the truth is that not all websites are “designed equal” when it comes to the way they treat awards and accolades. In order to do it well, you must give the same thought and consideration to your awards and accolades as you do the rest of your law firm’s website design.
First, though, you must be selective about the awards and accolades you share.
How to Select the Most Impactful Awards and Accolades
Awards and accolades are a big deal. But here’s the thing no one wants to admit: not all of them really matter. Plastering every last one of your awards and accolades on your website may not be as impactful as you think. If you want to make the right impression, you must be selective.
To start, think about which awards will truly resonate with your audience. For example, Chambers citations are often perceived as more distinguished than Best Lawyers awards. That’s not to say that you should never display a Best Lawyers award. It’s just that you should think carefully about which awards are truly strong enough for a starring role on your website.
Many firms, especially those that aren’t already recognized as industry leaders, make the mistake of displaying every award they receive in the form of third-party logos. Not only does this approach visually clutter their websites, but it also serves to water down their own brand.
When it comes to accolades — press mentions, testimonials, and the like — you’ll want to be equally selective. For example, plan to limit your press mentions to just those that act as resounding endorsements. If your firm was mentioned in The New York Times, but the reference was more journalistic in nature (“The law firm of Smith and Brown represented so-and-so”), that’s not a true accolade. If, in the same article, the Times describes your firm as “fierce and tenacious,” then — ding! ding! — you’ve got a winner.
Likewise, plan to include only those testimonials that come from recognizable (or, at the least) verifiable, clients. A positive review from “Karen N. of Missouri” doesn’t hold much credibility. Praise from the CEO of a well-known corporation does. While the latter makes a big impact, the former may cause your prospects to question the authenticity of the testimonial. (“Who is this Karen N., anyway?”).
Finally, remember that although awards and accolades matter, results are even more important. Even if your firm doesn’t have a single award or quotable accolade, you can still prove your mettle with case studies that demonstrate what you can do for your clients.
How to Present Your Top Awards and Accolades on Your Law Firm’s Website
Now that you’ve narrowed down your awards, accolades, and testimonials to the strongest contenders, it’s time to think about how to display them on your website. Use the following tips to make the most of your social proof.
Be Creative in Your Presentation
Awards and accolades can be handled in a number of different ways. For example, you might:
- Build a dedicated awards and accolades page.
- Create a homepage video or image carousel highlighting key achievements.
- Include individualized awards and accolades on your associates’ bio pages.
- Weave awards and accolades throughout the website using a repeating visual element.
The important thing is to find a way to display your awards and accolades that reflects and supports your firm’s unique personality.
For example, when we worked with Los Angeles law firm Hueston Hennigan, we set out to create an awards and accolades component for their homepage that matched the firm’s disruptive personality. We wanted to showcase their impressive accolades and play on their proximity to Hollywood. The result? An assertive, high-octane motion experience with animated type that is visually reminiscent of a film trailer.
Avoid Cluttering Your Website with Logos
Using logos from publications for accolades is a huge cliché in the legal industry. When you use too many logos from other brands on your website, you actively fight against the coherence and consistency of your own brand. If you do want to include logos, use them sparingly. Or, group them together in a single location on your website.
Don’t Be Afraid to Be Picky
Only use accolades from the most respected entities. Everything else is just clutter.
Remember — results are more important than awards. Whether you have one award or one hundred, take the time to create compelling, easily scannable case studies that demonstrate real-world results that speak for themselves.
In order to compete, your law firm must offer proof of its value in the form of credentials. By leveraging awards and accolades in your website’s design, you can give your prospects the confidence they need to put matters in your hands.