Leaving a solo practice has a lot of upsides. In your new position at a larger firm, you get to focus on your passion for providing legal counsel while someone else takes care of all those annoying small business responsibilities like HR and finance. But first, you need to close up shop properly.

Every day, we hear from solo practitioners in this exact situation. When you join a larger firm, what is the right thing to do with your old website? After all, you put a lot of work into your site—and you’re not disappearing off the face of the earth. 

The answer, of course, depends on your situation. The appropriate course of action ultimately depends on what you and your new firm’s leadership decide, but generally there are three ways that attorneys typically solve this problem.

Here are three options for what to do with an old website for attorneys joining a new firm, including a few helpful tips for how to pick the right option for your situation.

Option #1 – Take it down and redirect it

This option entails removing your solo website completely and pointing the domain name to your new firm’s website. 

Here’s an example. Let’s say that Miranda Jackson has had a solo practice for five years and she is now joining a bigger firm called Hall & Pinkerton Family Law. In this situation, whenever a person tries to visit mirandajacksonattorney.com they would be automatically redirected to hallpinkertonfamilylaw.com.

While it’s easy enough to delete a website, this may actually be the least valuable option. 

Consider the goals of you and your new firm. You may wish to bring previous clients and attract new clients to your new firm. You probably want to maintain your hard-earned reputation as an experienced attorney which will benefit both you and your firm. You also want to make it easy for people to find you.

Your solo website likely played a key role in building trust with clients. 

When you delete and redirect, you create uncertainty. Redirects can confuse people who saved your old site or are looking for you by name. In addition, deleting a site removes it completely from the Google SERPs which undermines all your work to rank with Google.

Option #2 – Replace it with a single landing page

First, take down your old multi-page website. Then, replace it with a single landing page. On this page, you post a short message informing visitors that you have joined a new practice. This landing page should include your new contact information and a link to your new firm. An experienced web developer can help you do this quickly.

This option is relatively straightforward—and more helpful than completely deleting your site. However, this approach does not take the best advantage of your old site’s value.

Like the first option, this approach sacrifices your visibility in the SERPs. Any page on your site that previously ranked well with the search engines will now become unavailable. 

Option #3 – Keep your site but rebrand it

If your new firm is amenable—and if your site ranks particularly well—this is the option we recommend for most attorneys. Why delete content that is a real resource for clients?

Here’s how it works. Keep your website but update the branding to include your new firm. Tack the firm’s name onto the title of your site. Add information about the new firm to a new page on the site. For instance, your practice Johnston Elder Law could be rebranded Johnston Elder Law, a Practice Group of Pine, Lorke, Hudson & Liu. Cross-link the two sites and optimize both. 

The benefits of this option are manifold. 

With a rebranded site, you’ve increased the odds that visitors will land on one or both sites during their attorney selection journey. You lose none of your old site’s SEO and it will continue to serve as a lead gen tool for you and now your new practice. 

Which option is right for you?

In our experience, the leadership teams at larger firms tend to have strong opinions about this. So when going to the table to discuss next steps, we recommend that attorneys come prepared to share performance statistics from their solo practice’s website:

  • Do you have any pages that perform really well?
  • How many calls do you generate from your site each month? How many of these retain you?
  • How much traffic do you generate on a monthly basis?

If your site is a powerful business development tool, then you may find that the third option (keeping and rebranding your old site) delivers big value to your new firm.

At the very least, we recommend that you consider the second option (replacing with a single landing page) for at least one year after you close your doors on a solo practice.

As with all other web development projects, be sure to consult with an experienced agency that can advise you on how certain actions will impact your visibility on the web. 

Review and next steps

Becoming a lawyer is tough—and running a solo practice is even tougher! We have enormous respect for any attorney who has made the difficult decision to close his/her solo practice and join a larger firm. Before closing up shop, you must decide what to do with your digital assets—and you’ll have to negotiate with your new leadership.

If your site is performing well, we recommend keeping it and rebranding it. This allows you and your new firm to benefit from the SEO and lead gen potential of your old site. If this is not an option, consider replacing your site with a single landing page for at least one year after your transition. Deleting your site completely is the least preferable option since it sacrifices search engine visibility and creates uncertainty for previous clients.
Your visibility on the web is key to achieving your goals. In this delicate time of transition, get help from an experienced agency to ensure you get the most value out of your assets.

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