Do I care if my law firm has an iPhone App? As client, I care about my law firms delivering useful information to me.
Kevin O’Keefe says your law firm should forget about building an iPhone App. Morrison & Foerster didn’t heed his advice and created MoFo2Go, an iPhone app.
iPhone App versus Mobile View
Kevin’s post was in response to a iPhone app built around a law firm’s blog. I looked at Arnold & Porter’s iPhone app for their Consumer Advertising Law Blog. It required a separate application and was very clunky. All it had was blog content. They would have been better off just having their site enabled for mobile viewing. Kevin was right.
(By the way, Compliance Building uses MobilePress to make a really nice looking mobile view of the site on the iPhone. It looks mediocre on the Blackberry.)
Rather than reading on the commute home, I decided to download MoFo2Go to my iPhone and see if Kevin was right.
MoFo2Go is the first app I’ve seen that has a disclaimer wrapper that I had to “accept” before installing. Clearly this app had some lawyer input on the design.
The four functional buttons take up 20% of the screen space, with the new firm motto taking up the majority of the space. Is this an ad or a tool? I think they got that wrong.
This is a nice feature. I can look up lawyers. With one step I can call the lawyer. It also allows me to add the lawyer to my contacts, send an email to the person and view their full bio. I wish the phone number and email were clickable to take these actions instead of menu items at the bottom.
So assuming I’m trying to get to a MoFo office, I could use this to get directions. It kicks you over to the Google Maps feature in the iPhone.
It’s nice enough of MoFo to publish all of these updates. But MoFo is an international law firm with dozens of practice area. Only a small fraction of their publications are of any use to me.
They have four filters: Alerts, Releases, Newsletters and MoFoTech. Please explain why dividing the publications into Alerts and Newsletters helps me to find information. It’s a useless distinction from a client’s perspective.
The Releases are MoFo press releases, so I can just ignore those.
MoFo Tech is a publication focused on tech-based companies. It has all all 7 articles from the single edition of the publication. MoFo Tech Fall/Winter 2009. That seems to be a lot of screen devoted to a small publication.
Yes, MoFo2Go has a game. It’s a classic marble maze. You tilt the iPhone to move a marble through a maze. When you succeed, in addition to a score, you get a MoFo Factoid (“In 2009, Chambers & Partners ranked MoFo Band 1 in Intellectual Property.” I guess I didn’t do very well if that is reward I got at the end of the maze).
The only useful feature in MoFo2Go is the lawyer directory. The rest is useless or a waste of time.
They should have just made MoFo.com mobile-friendly for the iPhone. MoFo.com is unusable on the iPhone.
Surprisingly, there is a mobile version of MoFo.com for the blackberry. It’s stripped to the lawyer directory and the office locations. Unfortunately, they stripped the email from the directory. But you can just click on the phone number to call the lawyer. Nice.
Should Law Firms Have iPhone Apps?
From my perspective as a client, No. Don’t bother with an iPhone app.
Make your law firm website mobile-friendly so that your clients can easily to get to the information they need. That means make it easy to get to the lawyer directory and office locations. Just like MoFo did with the blackberry version of their website.