ADA Compliance for Lawyers and Attorneys
ADA Guidelines for Lawyer and Attorney Websites
Despite the fact that there is currently no legal definition of an ADA-compliant law firm website, attorneys should still want to voluntarily accommodate people with disabilities on their website because it’s good for business and it’s the right thing to do. In 2017, plaintiffs filed 814 federal lawsuits for web inaccessibility, and these numbers are only increasing.
The internet is a central component of our everyday lives. According to CNN coverage of a Nielson Company audience report, the average American “spends nearly half a day staring at a screen”, which is about “10 hours and 39 minutes each day”. Several analytics firms report that U.S. users now spend upwards of 5 hours per day on mobile devices alone. While these statistics may be alarming, they merely point to the centrality of the internet in modern life. The ubiquitous internet is a platform that should be equally accessible to people of all types, and no one wishes to be left behind.
Specifically, for law firms, the largest motivation for pursuing accessibility may be risk management.
Having your law firm sued by a disability advocacy group would truly be a PR disaster.
Besides minimizing litigations risk, here are some reasons to pursue ADA website compliance:
• To include corporate social responsibility
• Financial returns
• and Benefits to the technical aspects of your firm’s online presence
Corporate Social Responsibility
Regardless of the type of law practiced, law firms exist to provide legal services to a community. Visitors to your website will have a range of capabilities, varying fluency in English, and contrasting expectations of how they should be able to access information. Making your firm’s website as accessible as possible, demonstrates a commitment to inclusion.
For many contacts and clients, their first point of contact with your firm is your website. Establishing an open, welcoming digital presence for those with and without disabilities is more than a nice thing to do: it’s a good business decision.
ADA website compliance could save your law firm from litigation, which is oftentimes time-consuming, costly, and damaging to your firm’s brand. Other benefits include increased SEO, market share, and a significantly improved user experience.
As you work to meet web accessibility standards, you are likely to improve the user-experience for everyone visiting your site. Websites that are easy to use are the most effective. Most visitors to your firm’s site are trying to complete an action or access information. Simplicity and modifiable navigation make it easy for users to engage with your firm, which is good for business.