Previously, we shared what you need to know about FindLaw’s contracts. However, this article’s focus is in regard to how FindLaw’s MSA addresses their obligation to create a website and subsequent content.
First, understand that FindLaw typically uses its own proprietary content management system (CMS). What this means is that if you ask them to create a website, that website is on their platform. If they create content for that website, it’s on their platform and in their system.
So, what happens if you wanted to leave the services agreement? Well, it’s not that easy. Since the site and content are hosted through their proprietary system, it’s not something you can just easily export and move elsewhere.
Rather than get you and/or your firm setup with its own CMS and therefore having the ability to change and adjust as needed, their efforts show that they want your firm on their network where they can have complete control.
But what about the content?
The other aspect to recognize with the MSA is the content. If the content was created by or through FindLaw, they may not release that content until your account with them is paid in full. In short, they may opt to retain controlling interest in your website and its content, and are asking you to pay for it as if it’s a leasing agreement.
To put it more bluntly, if you sign FindLaw’s MSA, you’re ultimately leasing a digital marketing service and not hiring someone to develop the marketing arm of your business.
Leasing space in the digital marketing realm doesn’t help your law firm long-term.
Think about this for a moment — If your firm is included with thousands of other firms in their system, how does that make your marketing efforts any different than anyone else utilizing the same service?
Your website setup alone should be flexible enough so you can switch agencies with little to no issues.
How your site and online marketing is setup is just as important as who is managing it.
This can only be done if you actually own the entire site and all of the content.
If you considered or are currently using FindLaw’s Marketing Services, reach out to us. We’re sure we can provide a more flexible and effective alternative. Our goal is to help you retain ownership of your site and content.