I started Lawyerist in 2007, when it was a legal tech blog called SoloSmallTech. From the beginning until the day I moved on 13 years later I did nearly all the web development and design myself. I even did some development work on the current version of Lawyerist, designed by Postali.
During all that time Lawyerist was in constant development, both visually and “under the hood.” Here are some of its numerous iterations:
The website started out on a free theme from the WordPress directory. Later I moved it to the Thesis 1.x framework (the first image, above). And since about 2015 it has been a fully custom WordPress theme. The last one is more or less what Lawyerist looked like until Postali took over and redesigned the site in late 2020.
(I’ve got mixed feelings about the “Join your tribe. Grow your firm.” tagline we used at the time. On the one hand tribe is a well-established sociopolitical term. On the other hand the connection with indigenous tribes is unavoidable and makes it feel kinda gross and cultural appropriation-y. Anyway Lawyerist no longer uses it, which I’m glad about.)
I also added a bunch of custom functionality to Lawyerist over time as Lawyerist evolved from a one-person blog to a coaching community. I built the Small Firm Scorecard and Small Firm Dashboard, Lawyerist’s tools for lawyers to rate and track the health of their firm over time, plus a coaching dashboard. I integrated a number of different display advertising products, including a custom affiliate tracking plugin built by Bicycle Theory. Lawyerist also needed to integrate its website with various systems over the years, like OpenX, Google Ads and Analytics, AWeber, Mailchimp, Infusionsoft, HubSpot, Zapier, Vanilla Forums, and more. All the while I worked to keep pages loading fast, continually refine the site structure and SEO profile, maintain the site, etc., just as I do for my clients now.
I’m no longer working on Lawyerist and Postali has taken its design in a new direction. But a lot of the work I did is still powering Lawyerist under the hood, powering the new design.