Well, if you’re going to plunk down a cool million dollars to have your website redesigned, you might as well make sure you make it ugly, and slow. Apparently, that had to be the goal of the Morrison Foerster (AKA MoFo) website redesign.

I actually spotted this a few weeks ago and sent it around to some friends of mine for their feedback.  The usual comments were “Good Lord!! What were they thinking???” and “Oh my… as soon as I got on it, I couldn’t wait to get out!” But the universal comment was “God, it is so slow!!”

Never mind the fact that it looks like whoever they paid to design the website appeared to be “print media experts” and not web designers, this site loads like it is running on an old 486 processor.  Why on earth would a site that is basically two colors, run so slow??

I went to IWebTool.com to see if it was really as slow as I thought by comparing it to some other law firm websites.  Sure enough, it was.  On average it took over 1.5 seconds to load the initial webpage.  Click on some of the links and it sometimes took 3 seconds to load.  When I compared it to Skadden’s website, or DLA Piper, the MoFo site was significantly slower.  Skadden’s and DLA Piper loaded 1kb of data in .05 seconds or less compared to MoFo’s site taking 1.26 seconds.  That’s means it takes MoFo 25 times longer to load the page!!

MoFo may want to go back to the drawing board on this one.  Maybe they have a money-back guarantee from whoever convinced them to go with this design.

  • Greg,

    Well, I spoke too soon on Twitter. The universal response from the cool kids (law students) is the site is fun, edgy, and different. One of my editors also said, "What are you, 87 years old?"

    How is it that I don't get it?

  • I guess the 'look' of the site can fall under the category of "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Of course, the "cool kids" are also the ones that I see walking around town with metal sticking out of their faces, ginormous ear hole lobes and tattoos of someone's name visibly written on their necks. If that's what it takes to look cool, then I can see why they like MoFo's site!!

  • It reminds me a little of my site, but more expensive and less attractive.

  • Michael,
    That sounds like my ex-wife. [rim shot]
    (I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your local bloggers.)

  • To Jason's comment, "the cool kids (law students)" are not the people buying services from MoFo. The average age of a GC these days is mid to late 40's.

    He shoots! He misses!

    Jason – you do get it.

  • Since when did people in law school become the "cool kids"? That is ugly.

  • Anonymous

    I believe the point of the new design is to suggest that choosing MoFo is as simple as BLACK and WHITE. And it's a nice breakaway from the super busy webpages that many law firms have. It's as if MoFo is saying, look, we don't have to impress you with fancy flash and graphics, we're about the law and old fashioned (read: print newspapers) values. And look – large type – they DO know that their audience is over 40 (including me). I didn't have any trouble with pages loading quickly, so that might have been a transient issue, but I do think that the site could have been a little more refined, with a photo or graphic to provide visual interest; I think Gibson Dunn did this look much better.

  • Sully

    I'm not qualified to comment on the ugliness or lack thereof, I just don't have that talent and couldn't see past the first page. Where is the option to opt out of the Flash part? With Flash now being the number one tool used to exploit security holes why can't a user who has flash disabled not get past page one?

  • I'm not sure how I feel about the look. I'm certainly no expert, but I do think that it is a bit edgy (definitely not the "same old law firm website") – and I am neither cool, nor a kid.

    I'm wondering if they geared this toward "Generation Skim" (blog post about that forthcoming) – the folks who don't read, but rather just skim content. The idea being that nobody is going to spend more than a few seconds on any web page. Don't throw a huge paragraph at them – because they won't read the whole thing. I'm a big fan of concision, so I like that aspect of it.

    My first reaction, though, was that it is a bit like a not horrible PowerPoint presentation – especially the home page. Rather than too many words that you can't easily digest, it's five bold concepts that spark your interest and makes you pay attention. Kind of makes you want to see what Imagination, Innovation, Expertise, etc. are all about from the MoFo perspective.

    Anyway, I guess any publicity is good publicity. And this seems to have created a bit of a buzz.

  • Do GCs really go to a website to determine whether or not they will use a certain law firm? I can't imagine they do. I think the site is creative. You know you are seeing something different (like it or not) and that does differentiate them from just about every other big law site.

  • Anonymous

    In response to Scott's question: Yes.

    Attorneys tell me over and over again that they have gotten numerous calls from clients who said that they found them through their web site.

    In fact, as recently as this week I was recently told of an example in which a firm was short-listed based only upon the content of their web site.

  • Looks to me like it is heavily "influenced" by http://www.subtraction.com/ – the site of a pretty weel respected web designer.

    Personally I think it looks pretty good – nice fonts, lots of white space, clean, and very contemporary. It also isn't too slow for me, except for the flash stuff – no eed to use flash for this really, so that's a downside I guess??

    I'd happily have taken $1m to build it – although otf course that money might be doing nice things behind the scenes. Also, speed could always be server related (their end).

    Presumably it's a big break from the (presumably conservative) websites of other firms in the US??

    Fortune favours the brave as they say!!

  • Fahgetaboutit. The MoFo site is an absolute disaster. If "form follows function" then unless this was for an optometrist demonstrating an online eye chart, this design deserves a large F.

    Where is the "Contact Us" button? Where is the firm's address? Telephone number? The Managing Partner who approved the (alleged) $1 million cost for this wreck should be sent to Remedial Marketing 101. Quickly.

  • Anonymous

    It looks like an American Apparel advertisement to me. And thats not good.

  • I'm a young legal marketer and the design just doesn't do it for me. I applaud them for trying to design outside of the usual law firm spectrum but this site just seems like a miss. Sorry, MoFo. I do think it's cool that they're launching an iPhone "app," though. I say "app" because this is more like a mobile version of their site with a game tacked on. See this article from thelawyer.com: http://bit.ly/arAZOa

  • It's good to see you looking so well and happy.

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