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Intranet Management

How to structure a law firm intranet

At ThoughtFarmer, we are fortunate to work with a lot of great clients across a range of industries. One type of project that we have a lot of experience with is building law firm intranets.

3 minute read
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At ThoughtFarmer, we are fortunate to work with a lot of great clients across a range of industries.

One type of project that we have a lot of experience with is building law firm intranets

On these projects, we work with our law firm customers to understand the goals for the intranet, and the types of information they have and want to store on their intranet. We use techniques like card sorting and task testing to figure out the best way to structure the information architecture and come up with the appropriate top level navigation for the site.

During this process, we have noticed certain patterns, with common elements across law firm intranets. While every organization is different, we’ve seen the following elements frequently appear in the top level navigation across law firm intranets. 

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Other insights

Flexibility with top-level navigation is important

As indicated in the table above, law firms typically have a strong understanding of how they want their navigation to appear and what it should include. The flexibility of our platform is a key reason we attract many customers from this industry. 

Knowledge sharing matters

Few industries rely on the quick discovery of information as much  as legal firms—which is partly why many law firms are seeking out intranet software to assist them in managing internal knowledge. Modern intranets are a great way to manage knowledge because they enable quick access to large quantities of information. As an innovation hub, intranets serve as a collaborative platform that makes information easily discoverable.

Targeted communication eliminates noise

Our legal customers, specifically larger firms, are often ecstatic when they learn they can target communication to specific groups. For example, communication can be targeted to a specific location, or practice. Communication can also be private, for things like wills and trusts. This not only ensures the right people have access to the correct information, but it also eliminates traditional communication noise where everyone is receiving the same—and often irrelevant—updates. 

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Security is critical

Secure content is a valid concern for all industries—particularly legal firms who consistently deal with highly confidential information. Our customers appreciate how easy it is to lockdown and secure pages while ensuring only those with approval have access to specific content.   

It’s worth empowering multiple content creators 

First generation intranets often relied on one sole content creator. Sometimes this was restricted to whoever had the knowledge to administer the content, or someone from the IT department. Modern intranets make it easy to empower multiple content creators, therefore alleviating the burden and roadblock of one person. Having multiple content creators also makes it so much easier for employees and colleagues to share knowledge across the firm. 

A presence indicator might be useful

Some law firms also requested a Presence Indicator, an icon that lights up to notify others when a user is offline or occupied with another call or interaction. While not a common feature request, it is definitely something that comes up more frequently with law firms, as legal firm employees often require a way to notify their colleagues when they are away in court. 

For further reading, we suggest checking out: How a legal firm used an intranet to create an innovative knowledge hub, and Why law firms are rapidly adopting intranets