Legal Industry Websites: Compliance and Hosting Considerations

Websites have become a crucial part of doing business for companies in every industry, including the legal industry. Law firms and other legal businesses rely on their websites to market services, communicate with clients and prospects, share content and information, and more. However, legal industry websites come with unique compliance considerations that must be taken into account when designing, developing and hosting a site. This article will provide an overview of key website compliance issues for the legal industry and discuss options for compliant hosting solutions.

Advertising Compliance for Legal Websites

One major area of compliance for legal industry websites relates to rules around advertising and marketing. Legal advertising is regulated by state bar associations to ensure accuracy, transparency and adherence to ethical standards. Some key advertising compliance considerations include:

  • Avoiding misleading claims or guarantees about results – Any information presented on a law firm website needs to be factual and avoid misleading visitors about potential outcomes. Dramatic claims about winning cases or getting charges dropped cannot be made unless they can be substantiated.

  • Proper labeling of lawyer testimonials and endorsements – If a law firm website includes quotes from clients or colleagues endorsing an attorney, proper disclosures must be included to indicate these are testimonials. Endorsements should reflect the honest opinions of the individual providing them.

  • Not claiming expertise in uncertified practice areas – Attorneys should only claim to specialize or have expertise in areas of law where they are properly certified. Websites should avoid making broad claims about taking on all legal matters if the firm's attorneys are not qualified in those specific practice areas.

  • Clear communication about fees – Information about fees, billing rates and payment structures should be easily found on legal websites to avoid confusion. This includes any contingencies, retainers or other details about payment expectations.

Staying up-to-date on state bar rules around legal advertising and working closely with ethics counsel is crucial for law firms to ensure their websites comply with all requirements.

Accessibility Standards

Making legal industry websites accessible to people with disabilities is another compliance consideration that impacts site design and development. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that private entities providing services to the public ensure their digital assets and technologies are accessible.

Some key website accessibility best practices include:

  • Alt text for images – Providing descriptive alternative text for images allows the content to be understandable when images cannot be seen.

  • Headings and semantic HTML – Using proper headings and semantic HTML tags like


    makes web pages more navigable for screen reader users.

  • Color contrast – Ensuring text/background color combinations meet minimum contrast ratios ensures content is readable.

  • Video captions – Any videos on legal industry sites need synchronized captions to provide access for deaf and hard-of-hearing site visitors.

  • Keyboard accessibility – All site functionality should be operable using only a keyboard, without requiring mouse or touch interaction.

  • Avoiding flashing content – Flashing, blinking or strobing content can trigger seizures and should be eliminated.

Conducting accessibility testing regularly and working with developers familiar with WCAG standards for ADA compliance can help legal businesses avoid potential legal issues and provide better access for all site visitors.

Privacy Protections

Websites for legal industry businesses also need to ensure proper safeguards are in place to protect visitor privacy and comply with regulations. Some considerations include:

  • Encrypted contact forms – Client intake forms, questionnaire widgets and any method of transmitting visitor information online should use TLS 1.2 encryption or higher.

  • Limited third-party scripts – Embedding widgets like chatbots or web analytics can potentially expose visitor data to third parties. Limiting use of these tools can enhance privacy protections.

  • Cookie consent banners – Websites based in jurisdictions with laws like the EU’s GDPR must provide notice about cookie usage and gain consent through a banner or popup.

  • Privacy policy – A complete privacy policy outlining how data is collected and used should be published on the site and easily discoverable.

Law firms often gain access to sensitive client information, so taking measures to keep data transmissions secure and limit access demonstrates a strong commitment to privacy.

Secure Hosting Options

Choosing an appropriate web hosting provider is critical for legal industry websites to remain compliant, avoid downtime risks and provide a secure visitor experience. Some factors to consider when selecting hosting include:

  • Uptime guarantees – Legal websites need consistently reliable uptime to always be available to site visitors. Look for guarantees of at least 99.9% uptime from any hosts under consideration.

  • Dedicated hosting – Shared web servers are often vulnerable to security issues and resource limitations caused by other sites. Dedicated servers for a single site only are more secure and reliable.

  • Managed hosting services – Opting for a fully managed hosting provider that handles updates, security patching, backups and other administrative tasks can ensure stronger performance and compliance.

  • Strong security provisions – Hosting providers should have robust security measures in place like firewalls, mandatory SSL certificates, DDoS mitigation, private VLANs and intrusion detection.

  • Disaster recovery solutions – The ability to quickly recover from any outages or data loss is crucial. Seek hosts with automatic failover clustering and easy backup restoration.

  • Knowledge of legal compliance needs – Opt for hosting providers that understand ADA requirements, legal marketing rules, privacy regulations and the need for watertight security.

As a foundational piece of legal practice infrastructure, websites demand specialized hosting that caters to the unique needs and stringent standards of this industry. Conducting thorough due diligence when selecting hosting can prevent compliance gaps and liability risks.

Ongoing Website Maintenance

While comprehensive planning, design and development is key to creating compliant legal websites, the work does not stop there. Ongoing maintenance is required to:

  • Update content frequently – Stale, outdated website content not only provides a poor visitor experience but can also lead to liability if incorrect or incomplete information is provided. Content audits and updates should occur regularly.

  • Refresh site design – As laws, regulations, technologies and visitor expectations evolve, site design and functionality may need revamping to remain effective and compliant.

  • Perform security patching – Diligently patch vulnerabilities in content management systems, plugins and other website software components as security updates are released.

  • Fix broken links – Review sites regularly to fix any broken internal links as well as external resources that may have moved locations. These broken pathways frustrate visitors.

  • Expand accessibility – Even if accessibility is built into the initial site, new features added over time like videos, PDFs, new pages and so on must also be made compliant.

  • Test for violations – Continually run site audits using automated tools and expert testing to catch any compliance gaps, ADA violations or newly introduced issues that need remediation.

By making website maintenance a standard internal process, legal businesses can keep their sites running optimally while avoiding violations as laws and technologies change.


Legal industry websites walk a fine line between effectively marketing services, communicating key information and complying with a web of complex regulations and ethics standards. By understanding and addressing the unique compliance considerations for legal sites around advertising rules, accessibility, privacy and security in the design, hosting and maintenance processes, law firms can capitalize on the benefits websites provide without incurring risk. With the right development strategies and hosting solutions, legal businesses can have confidence their websites will meet all their needs while upholding regulatory and ethical obligations.

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