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Website review

20 October 08

Review of some websites of local solicitors' groups

by Iain Nisbet

Society of Advocates in Aberdeen

www.socofadvocates.com

The Society of Advocates in Aberdeen have just launched their website, and very nice it is too. This is easily the most attractive and professional of the three websites reviewed this time round.

There is much useful information to be had on the site, but it is all so well organised and laid out that it is quick and easy to access. As you might expect for a website which has only recently been created, all the information is right up to date – but already shows signs of being kept up to date.

The CPD and events calendars seem to be full and varied, and for those of you who missed the hill walk to Glen Clova in September the photos will be posted online soon!

A definite bonus for this website is the ability to search the Society’s extensive library. The search facility returns not just the details of the book you were looking for, but also the bookcase in which it is kept (this information is usefully supplemented by the downloadable plan of the library, with bookcases clearly numbered).

The Society has apparently been on the go since the 15th century, but with this website – as the Press & Journal so eloquently reported on the site’s launch – it has well and truly “lurched into the 21st”.

Falkirk and District

Faculty of Solicitors

www.falkirkfaculty.org

I believe that the Falkirk and District Faculty was one of the first local solicitors’ groups to have a website, and it certainly still looks like the oldest website of them all. It has an almost endearing homemade feel and look to it (although the colour scheme – black and red on blue – is a little difficult on the eyes after a while).

Of the three websites reviewed this month, this is the only one which seems to be designed (in part) with a view to members of the public visiting. Which, of course, is a good idea. The Faculty’s site is one of the top search engine results when the query is “solicitors+Falkirk”, and that is just the sort of search terms someone might use if they were looking for a Falkirk-based solicitor. So, the Faculty displays names and contact details for each member firm, and even breaks them down by practice area so potential clients can find the right type of firm easily. Good work.

For members, there is the usual online notification of upcoming social or CPD events. Masquerading as “online CPD” is a humorous article bearing the title “A Guide to Criminal Procedure for the Newly Qualified” which has some genuinely funny moments, but probably wouldn’t appeal quite as much to female solicitors working with the fiscal service.

Also to be found on the site under the heading “issues”, is – despite protestations to the contrary – “a series of tired old jokes” featuring (I suppose) pictures of some of the local Faculty members with amusing captions. There’s obviously nothing wrong with that in a members’ area of the site – but the members’ area is not accessed by password. Sitting side by side with information targeted at the consumer, I wonder what kind of image the Faculty is trying to project to potential clients?

Glasgow Bar Association

www.glasgowbarassociation.co.uk

The website of the GBA is every bit as technically impressive as the Society of Advocates’, but lacks that extra polish which gives the Aberdeen site the edge.

The perception I have always had is that the GBA’s members are primarily involved in criminal practice, and this seems to be confirmed by the content of the site. The GBA is a very active society and this is also reflected online by the number of responses to consultations, updates as to local and national changes in law and practice, and the fulsome training programme (both CPD and PCC).

The links page is fairly cursory, but then you probably weren’t visiting for a list of links in the first place. Overall the site isn’t pretty but it does the job really well – I’m sure the same could be said for many of its members!

Don’t forget that the WS Society (www.signetlibrary.co.uk) and the Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow (www.rfpg.org) also have websites which have been featured in this review on a previous occasion.

If you are a member of a local solicitors’ group which has a website, please let me know and the site may feature in a future web review.

 

 

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