Squire Patton Boggs – where’s the website?
There’s been some discussion lately regarding the impressive mega-merger between Squire Sanders and Patton Boggs, and the delay in getting a new combined website online. (See e.g. John Byrne’s post in “The Byrne Blog.”) Fishman Marketing develops regularly websites for law firms and we know that they can be quite challenging. Larger firms can be even more so, and one following a 1500-lawyer combination is, well … fuhgettaboudit.
But it’s still vitally important to launch it swiftly.
Over the years, I’ve been involved in countless strategic discussions before, during, and after law firm and accounting firm mergers, acquisitions, and other combinations. These include firms of all sizes, from small boutiques to national mergers of equals. The negotiations are never easy.
Back in May, I was quoted in AmLaw Daily (“So Long, Sanders: Squire’s Founding Partner Tossed in Tie-Up”) discussing why naming the firm “Squire Patton Boggs” was the correct choice — primarily because “Squire Sanders Patton Boggs” would have been quickly short-handed back to “Squire Sanders” anyway.
Four months later, AmLaw called back to discuss the consequences of the combined SPB firm having a simple landing page at the new squirepattonboggs.com (see photo below). Apparently the reporter, Julie Triedman, had learned that it might take as much as 12-18 months to develop the new site for the new firm.
What? 12-18 months to develop a post-merger website?
I think you must get that combined website online ASAP.
As I told the AmLaw interviewer (see “Squire Patton Boggs Website Fails to Keep Up With Merger”) (free sign-up required) I’d like to see the combined firm look like they’ve hit the ground running.
It’s been my experience that many smart clients don’t want to send their most-important legal work into the teeth of chaos, where the lawyers could be distracted; they wait until the dust has settled. There are plenty of skilled law firms out there that don’t raise the question of whether their lawyers are currently operating on all cylinders.
It’s like getting married but the spouses still live in their own separate homes.
Sure, it might be hard to pick whose house to live in or whose furniture to use, but if you want to convey to the world that you’re truly committed, that you’re living / operating as a single unit, then the optics matter.
Yes, in an ideal world, you’d have a year’s advance notice to get the marketing going, but we know that’s not realistic. Most of these discussions end without completing the merger, often dying at the eleventh-hour vote, so it would be unreasonable for firms to expend the significant resources necessary to begin developing a new brand and site until every single “I” has been dotted and “T” crossed on the merger.
So it often becomes a last-minute scramble.
Here, I’d have liked to see the firm(s) pick one of their two existing websites (presumably Squire’s, as the larger firm) and add any additional Patton Boggs practices. Quickly edit the practices as necessary. Tweak the branding message around the edges, and hire as many developers as necessary to add the Patton Boggs lawyers’ bios to the site ASAP.
The new Squire Patton Boggs firm is currently using a simple landing page at SquirePattonBoggs.com, shown below, while working on the new site.
It’s also for internal purposes. Combining two firms of any size is a challenge, but integration strategy is important. If you want to persuade your people that you mean it, that you’re really committed to the merger, then things like this matter.
Look like one firm. Act like one firm.
And the website is one especially visible way to do it.
At least that’s how I see it.
All images (c) 2014 American Lawyer Media.
Landing page image (c) 2014 Squire Patton Boggs.