Barristers’ Web Sites: No News is Bad News

June 29, 2008

252 Bar websites were surveyed by LawComms in June 2008.  52% of the profession’s home pages present only static brochure-style information; they lack even the most basic updates about the set’s activities.  On other sites, news and announcements are relegated to a separate page, where visitors are much less likely to see them.

20% of barristers’ sites have no updates of any kind.  Two thirds have out-of-date news, more than a month old.  Most sites feature only professional announcements and seminar details, with no updates about recent cases.

Only about a quarter of news pages mentioned members’ cases. News items were mostly professional announcements, about new tenants or QC appointments, which were almost invariably in the ‘Chambers congratulates…’ style and very rarely told visitors anything useful about the individual’s experience or qualities.  Another group concerned seminars and there were a handful about pro bono activity.

Only 86 of the 252 sites included recent news.  There were many examples of ‘news’ where the latest item was badly out of date, including: on many sites, the QC appointments announced in January; the ‘Chambers and Partners’ and ‘Legal 500’ legal directory recommendations published last autumn; a list of recent cases in which the most recent was in 2005; requests for pupillage applications with a closing date months previously; picture features of Christmas parties; invitations to seminars which had already taken place; the ‘current’ newsletter, published in spring 2006.  

Gerald Newman of LawComms commented:  ‘No news is bad news for barristers.  A home page packed with news about the latest cases presents an effective low-cost way to promote members’ skills and experience.  Unfortunately, too many sets are missing this opportunity.’

Commentary is given in a detailed analysis on the LawComms web site at  Sets can contact LawComms for more details of the research results relating to their own site.