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Case study: Snell & Wilmer L.L.P., Phoenix

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Challenge: Snell & Wilmer L.L.P.'s Web site (www.swlaw.com) was hard to navigate. There wasn't a search button to find information about the company or its 300 attorneys. To make matters worse, the site's content came from the firm's 12 practice groups and was inconsistent in format and length.

"If you can't keep a site fresh and current, you're probably better off without one," said Tom Hoecker, a partner at Snell & Wilmer and head of the site's three-member development committee.

The firm's goals were threefold: to create an easy-to-navigate site that could be self-managed, easily searched and content rich for clients and potential recruits.

Solution: The committee outsourced the development of the site to Mammothmedia in Phoenix. Mammothmedia built the site on a database so that content could be fully searchable, and added a search button to the home page so visitors could find what they wanted.

Snell & Wilmer created content guidelines and hired free-lance writers to convert its brochures to online material. Several hundred pages of content had to be rewritten based on the new format. "We used about 80% of what free-lancers wrote," said Kathleen Taddie, director of client services at Snell & Wilmer.

Results: The entire process lasted about six months, Taddie said. After the site was relaunched last summer, the firm mailed announcements to clients, displayed the URL at the bottom of its client newsletter, and on employee business cards.

So far, the site has averaged 274,402 hits a month. It has improved the firm's recruitment efforts and, because it highlights recent accomplishments, has sparked a bit of competition between attorneys in the firm's five offices in Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz., Orange County, Calif., Salt Lake City and Denver.

"Not only is it a great tool for client prospects," Taddie said, "but I get about six questions a day from people interested in working for the firm in either legal or nonlegal positions."

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