Gilbert's LLP // Law firm website of the month

A technologically advanced website for a technologically advanced law firm

By Precedent

On Friday March 26th, 2010

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Gilbert's LLPGilbert’s LLP, a boutique Toronto firm specializing in patent and trademark law, launched a new website recently that blew us away. All of its content is spread across the home page, which you can navigate by clicking and dragging, or through a pop-out menu.

Aidan Butler, the firm’s director of security and information technology, provided us with some insights on how the site was built, and what people are saying about it.

The new site is pretty “out there” for a law firm. How did it come about?
Aidan: We were looking for something that fit the attitude of the firm. We deal with some of the most complex and technically advanced cases, so our thought was that our site should reflect that. Toronto is blessed to have some of the best Flash and web coders around so it wasn’t too difficult to turn our vision into a reality.

Your site is reminiscent of Spezify. Was that an inspiration?
No, it wasn’t. The site was designed visually to be reminiscent of microfiche/Google earth I have been inspired by thousands of flash websites. One of my favourites is still www.ff0000.com.

How long did it take to develop?
Around five months in design and build and a month in beta. The site went live late January this year and because there are so many innovative things it is constantly being tweaked and updated.

The website is built on amazing CMS (content management system) to allow simple editing of all areas of the site. We have a secure 128bit client login section that is attached to an FTP server. We can host any aspects of clients’ work securely for them to view at any time, without the security concerns of sending data in hard copy or vie external drive.
The site pulls from RSS, Twitter and Flickr, and also has transcoding built in so we can embed almost any type of media (video, audio, etc.).

What do you hope the unique design and navigational structure says about Gilbert’s?
That we do things differently.

What kind of feedback have you gotten about the site?
Extremely positive. People seem to have really grasped what we were trying to accomplish.

How would you respond to someone who found the site difficult to use?
I generally try to help them through it. I quite enjoy showing people what it is capable of.  During the testing stages of the site I ran the design and functionality past lots of different age groups. People aged under 20 seemed to have no trouble navigating the site, and the under 10s seemed to get it the best of all. Sometimes, when you create something innovative, you have to expect some people just won’t get it immediately. Based on feedback and user input I have made a few tweaks to make the site more intuitive to navigate.

What other online/mobile/connectivity initiatives does Gilbert’s have planned?
That would be telling. Watch www.gilbertslaw.ca.


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