This browser is not actively supported anymore. For the best passle experience, we strongly recommend you upgrade your browser.
hero image of people sitting with documents near table


| 3 minutes read

CMO Series Live 2024: How Reed Smith built a winning online presence

Digital engagement is becoming more central to the way clients engage with your law firm. Last year we surveyed 100 GCs at large companies. 87% of those said they visited the websites of their suppliers monthly or more frequently.

It's clear that building effective digital presences has become more important for firms. What is still becoming clear is the best practices in how to do that. 

At CMO Series Live 2024, we heard from Sadie Baron, CMO at Reed Smith and Phill McGowan,  Communications Director at Reed Smith.

Here are the highlights from their session:

Reed Smith's Journey

The session began with Sadie outlining the Reed Smith story so far when it came to their digital presence. Their journey is a realistic one, and not without challenges. 

In 2017, the firm went through a lightning fast website project. In just 6 months they'd designed and built their website. In Sadie's words, “it was fine”. The site that was built was suitable for 2017, not for the future of the firm's engagement with clients online. The firm needed more.

Rather than leave the site as it is, Sadie and her team spent the next few years building their expertise, their plan for the future, and the business case for a seven-figure investment in their firm's digital presence.

The strategy - build content greater than the website

Reed Smith see the job of the communications team as being to facilitate the B2B buyer journey and drive revenue. Their digital project is nothing different. The website is there to get clients what they need to buy, to help the firm grow their book of business and their reputation.

Communications, therefore, approach their role as Business Development. The digital strategy is tied closely to revenue.

The landscape your firm's digital presence operates in

An important part of Sadie and Phill's outlook has been to understand the landscape that the firm's digital presence will be expected to perform in.

We heard multiple research points from Phill as to what is important to legal service buyers. Perhaps the two most significant points being that reputation and brand loyalty were both on the decline.

 From 2012 to 2022, reputation dropped from 31% of respondents reporting as significant to buyers, to just 13%. Indicating that those at the top of the industry cannot rest on previous performances.

Likewise, brand loyalty along buyers of professional services has dropped significantly, from 76% in 2018 to 53% in 2023, and projected to drop as low as 37% in 2028.


What does the website need to do to drive revenue & keep the firm top of mind?

With the goal of revenue in mind, the key driver for the website is how can it keep the firm front of mind with buyers. Amid a landscape of decreasing brand loyalty and decreases in the importance of reputation, what arises as the most important factor is contact.

Contact led all other factors by at least three to one as the most important factor in keeping the firm front of mind. The website then, needs to facilitate regular, high quality interaction between the lawyers and the clients/prospects.

Where to from here

To create those multiple high quality touchpoints, Reed Smith run a highly segmented approach to content. Their content is specific to region, industry and interest of their clients. This dedication to creating helpful and relevant interaction comes from that need to drive contact and repeat contact to keep the firm top of mind.

The future of Reed Smith's digital presence is very much one influenced by this philosophy. Phill envisions a future where content is created locally and overseen centrally, in a newsroom style matrix. A structure designed to allow content that resonates with a wide audience, that is created in a really timely way.





e2e, marketing, professional services, cmoserieslive, cmoseries24, best practice, events