If you do it, make sure you say it.

I’m working with a few professional services organizations that have not updated their practice areas or industries in number of years.

This can result in clients and prospects believing that you do not have the ability to do certain types of work or the depth and breadth of experience in a particular area that is important to them. If you are selling a service or expertise, it’s crucial to describe your work.

Even worse is to have an outdated practice in an area that is no longer relevant (for example Dodd-Frank or a technology/product that no longer exists). You’re selling your firm, lawyers and capabilities short by not updating terminology, practice strengths and industries as innovation happens.

PS – make sure the images on your practice pages and other areas of your site are also updated – there’s nothing more confusing to a client or potential client than having an outdated image of a phone from 10 years ago if you are a technology-focused firm, for example.

It’s also important to read through current materials to ensure the latest innovative areas are added to your capabilities. For example, many firms now have a blockchain, artificial intelligence, cannabis or quality opportunity zones practices. These didn’t exist several years ago, so be sure to add those if you do.

Also, make sure to add relevant subpractices as well. For example, corporate, litigation and intellectual property have many specialized areas that fall underneath them. Be specific about what you do in each of these areas. Remember this will help your Google search engine results too.

Remember, outdated terms and practices are just that – outdated.

Lawyers can partner with their marketing team to analyze their current practice and industry mix to ensure the most accurate and relevant information is captured on in practice and industry descriptions on your web site and pitch materials. This will also help to enhance your SEO search results.

One final thought on practice and industry descriptions is to always write them with your client/prospective client in mind. That means use short paragraphs, speak in their language with industry terms that resonate with them and keep the defined terms, legalese and acronyms to a minimum. It’s okay to list representative matters but do it in laypeople’s terms (versus listing case citations, legalese and clunky terminology). Always tell a story. Brevity is key in web copy and keep in mind that longer copy doesn’t always equal better copy.

It is not unusual for firms of all sizes to have outdated web descriptions, so there’s no time like now to update them. This is your place to brag about what you do, how you do it and what makes you unique.

I hope these tips are helpful as you strategize about updating your practice and industry descriptions.