Harrison Pensa // Law firm website of the month

HP's site aims to be approachable and engage its community

By Bruce Laregina

On Thursday August 22nd, 2013


For a busy full-service law firm, Harrison Pensa LLP’s lawyers sure look like they’re having a good time — especially on their website.

The profile pages of lawyers at the firm reveal their interests and hobbies outside of HP’s Toronto and London, Ont. offices. The firm’s group of lawyers double as tri-athletes, musicians and competitive equestrians.

Precedent spoke with Jodi Simpson, the firm’s director of marketing, communications and community relations, about the site’s philosophy, design and creation.

How long did it take to conceive and develop the website?
From the period of developing a strategy that would build upon many of the best practices for content creation, engagement and Search Engine Optimization in the legal services industry to the design and development phase, I think the whole process took 11 months.

What are the main concepts of the site’s design?
We wanted our website to accomplish certain goals. Chief among them was to promote brand awareness of the firm, its practices and its lawyers, in order to generate increased business. We also wanted the website to improve our publishing and information-sharing abilities, to engage more fully with the community, to assist with recruitment and to communicate effectively who we are, what we do, and how we do it. From a design standpoint we also wanted our audience to make genuine emotional connections with lawyers and employees through the use of strong imagery. Our people really are our greatest assets and our greatest strength. We wanted to humanize our lawyers and make them accessible to our clients, something that many law firms often fail to do.

Your firm has very active Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Flickr accounts. Why is social media a priority for your firm?
Our efforts to build a strong engaged presence on all these social media channels are part of our belief that we need to be engaged in our communities, both in real life and virtually. All these channels help drive visitors to our website, and our traffic has significantly increased since we launched our site redesign. We also use our channel to feature our community initiatives, events, jobs and content that have wide appeal and that are meant to be shared (including photos and videos). We also use the platform to provide a candid inside glimpse of our firm — a continuation of our strategy to make our firm approachable. 

Whose idea was it to do the Harlem Shake?
I believe it was mine but as you can see from the video many of our lawyers and staff had a hand in the fun. I have enjoyed the feedback from colleagues in the legal field and the legal marketing field in particular with the most standard response being, “How the heck did you pull that one off?”! In my view, lawyers shouldn’t take themselves so seriously. We are hardworking lawyers that deliver the goods but we can also have fun too.

What is your favourite feature of the website?
Personally, I love the profile pages of our lawyers. They provide such a refreshing break from the stale and status quo images one may typically find on other law firm websites. Many of our lawyers who shared a glimpse of their lives have received incredible feedback from clients.

Does your firm have a great online look? Tell us about it and we may feature your website next month!