Sutin, Thayer & Browne

Southwest Law Firm Stands Out

Mobile-friendly website showcases high-end law firm for B2B marketing in New Mexico

Screenshot of Sutin, Thayer & Browne project

Sutin, Thayer & Browne is one of New Mexico’s leading law firms. They provide full-service legal expertise to high-end clients and other law firms. But their website didn’t reflect the skill and sophistication their lawyers deliver. Making matters worse, the site was unwieldy, hard to navigate and couldn’t be updated without help from Sutin’s IT department.

Bright Umbrella created a new site design that elevates Sutin’s brand and supports their B2B marketing. We also built an easy-to-use content management system (CMS), which we’ve maintained with upgrades and performance improvements since 2013.

Most recently, we implemented HTTPS to improve Sutin’s site security. The move to HTTPS comes with the added bonus of building trust with both Google and Sutin’s own clients.


  1. January 2014

    Launched new site design and CMS

  2. May 2015

    Added new B2B marketing features to lawyer bios

  3. December 2016

    Implemented speed improvements for faster pages

  4. April 2017

    Improved site security with HTTPS using SSL

Results Delivered

  • Sophisticated design elevates brand

    • Sutin focuses exclusively on high-end clients and partnerships with other law firms. New site design is custom, providing necessary visual cues that they aren’t a cookie-cutter law firm.
    • Site design has a professional, southwest vibe, which is important for Sutin’s B2B marketing in the region.
  • Mobile-friendly and budget-friendly redesign

    • Sutin’s lawyers often need to access the website while on the road. So we built the site to be speedy, even on slow mobile networks.
    • In 2013, we reviewed their site analytics to identify what mobile devices were most in use. This allowed us to focus the mobile design on phones and desktops — with less emphasis on tablets — saving Sutin money on the initial redesign
    • Later when Sutin had the budget, we updated their mobile design to include tablets.
  • Easy-to-use online lawyer directory

    • We created an online directory so other lawyers and firms can search Sutin’s lawyers to find experts in different practice areas.
    • Directory provides quick access to lawyer contact information, supporting Sutin’s B2B marketing.
    • Users can drill into more information about lawyers, as well as download vCards to their address books.
    • Directory works great from any device — phones, desktops and everything in between — and is fast, even when lawyers are searching from the road
  • Fewer headaches for staff entering content

    • Staff has full control over site navigation, including secondary dropdown levels.
    • Staff can easily change featured content, promoting news and practice areas as needed.
    • Staff was fully trained in new CMS and has a customized user manual at their fingertips.
    • ExpressionEngine CMS gives Sutin’s marketing staff complete control of search engine metadata and headings.
  • Better security and stability, less administrative maintenance

    • HTTPS ensures any information submitted on the site is encrypted, protecting Sutin’s clients, business and brand
    • As part of our ongoing maintenance of their CMS, we make sure they always have the latest, stable version — including add-ons — to support site security and stability
    • We also implemented version control systems for more efficient and secure maintenance, including software updates
    • We advised on hosting options to give Sutin more ownership and stability

Services Provided

  • ExpressionEngine CMS Development
  • Content Strategy
  • Information Architecture
  • User Experience Design
  • Interface Design
  • Responsive Design & Development
  • Data Imports
  • Training & Documentation
  • Maintenance & Support
  • Performance Optimization
  • Hosting & Server Consultation
  • Security Consultation
  • HTTPS Implementation with SSL Certificate

Custom, Brand-Focused Design Supports B2B Marketing

We collaborated with Sutin’s marketing department, lawyers and partners to create a site design site that supports the firm’s primary goals: 1) be a resource to other law firms seeking counsel in New Mexico, and 2) make it easy to find and contact Sutin lawyers. We focused the design (and content) to reflect the Southwest region where Sutin operates, as well as to convey the firm’s high-end services and clientele.

Modern Southwest Feel

Screenshot of Swatches of design elements used in the redesign, including photography, colors and patterns

The unique design features a user-friendly navigation system with multiple paths to key industry and practice information, as well as a granular lawyer search. Dynamic contact information is enhanced to support downloadable vCards that are critical for Sutin lawyers’ online networking.

Information Is Easy to Find

Screenshot of Screenshots from showing the multiple locations where practice area information can be found

Downloadable, Dynamic vCards Make It Easier to Contact Lawyers

Screenshot of Screenshots demonstrating downloadable vCards that save lawyer contact information in site visitors' address books

Budget-Friendly Mobile Design Option

Sutin’s 2013 redesign was their first foray into mobile, and their site analytics didn’t reflect a majority mobile user base. These realities, combined with a limited budget, prompted us to create a limited mobile design. We supported all core elements of a mobile-friendly design — easy navigation, spacious link tap targets, legible fonts — but limited the layout design to phones and desktops. Later in 2017, when Sutin’s priorities shifted, we addressed tablet views so the site offers a complete mobile experience.

Initial Design Focused on Phones & Desktops to Save Time & Money

Screenshot of Collage of images of as viewed on an iMac and an iPhone

This approach saved Sutin time and money on the original redesign. And because this was planned, we built the site with the intention of scaling so that future changes could be easily integrated. Today, the site looks and works great on any device — and Sutin was able to manage their budget according to their priorities!

Tablet Views in “Phase 2” Was Flexible with Business Priorities

Screenshot of Two screenshots of Sutin's website in tablets; one in portrait view and one in landscape

Time Is Money, AKA Easy for Staff to Add and Edit Content

Bright Umbrella understands that time is a priority for lawyers and their clients alike. Easy maintenance is critical to allow Sutin to focus more on law and less on technical support requests and glitches. To start, we learned how Sutin’s staff needs to update site content. We listened to their content entry problems and prioritized ways their ExpressionEngine (EE) CMS can work for them, instead of the other way around. Then we did a full data import of their original site content into EE, so they didn’t have to start from scratch or spend too much time manually entering content.

Data Migration from Custom CMS

Screenshot of Collage of screenshots demonstrating the import of custom data into the new ExpressionEngine CMS

For the long-term, we created content entry processes in ExpressionEngine that make updating the site a breeze. No longer do staff need to contact IT to make changes. They can change headings, SEO content, and navigation labels without assistance. Staff also can easily create relationships between lawyers, practice areas and industry sectors for robust site-wide cross promotion.

Cross Promote Practice Areas & Industry Sectors

Screenshot of Screenshots from that demonstrate how practice areas can be cross promoted with industries and lawyers

Online Directory Makes It Easy to Find Lawyers

Sutin’s website is their lawyers’ primary marketing tool. It has to be easy to find lawyers at the firm and get detailed information about their areas of expertise. We built a mobile-friendly directory where users can search for Sutin lawyers by practice area, education and name. The directory provides a “quick view” of lawyers, complete with email address and phone number for quick and easy contacting. From the directory, users can drill into detailed lawyer bios. And all of this works great from any device — even for lawyers working remotely on slow mobile networks.

Mobile-Friendly Lawyer Search

Screenshot of Collage of screenshots from Sutin's online lawyer directory search, including from an iPhone

Full Control of Search Engine Content

Search is critical to Sutin’s B2B success. If other firms can’t find them, they are losing business. So we made sure their underlying site code is completely optimized for organic search engine optimization (SEO) with standards-based HTML5 and using structured data — which Google uses to highlight search results listings. And all of Sutin’s search engine content is 100% managed in ExpressionEngine. They can customize SEO titles and descriptions on a page-by-page basis. Staff can change any and all headings to leverage key words.

100% Control of Search Engine & Metadata & Content

Screenshot of Screenshot of ExpressionEngine control panel where SEO meta can be maintained

Protecting Sutin’s Site and Brand

Sutin is committed to using technology that is secure, stable and confidential. And their website is no exception. We implemented a trusted SSL digital certificate on their server, which assures their clients that any content shared through the site is protected. This HTTPS security also impacts their EE CMS, so content entered there is also encrypted. This investment in HTTPS not only improves site security, it reinforces Sutin’s brand as a law firm their clients can trust. As a bonus, Sutin’s HTTPS-enabled site is faster and more Google-friendly!

Site Visitors Can Trust Their Information Is Safe

Screenshot of Browser notifications on Chrome and Safari, indicating Sutin's site is secure

Upgrades, Support and Maintenance for Security and Stability

As Sutin’s technology partner since 2013, we provide ongoing support and maintenance for their entire site’s needs — from their host provider to the EE CMS that runs the site. Since the original launch, we’ve upgraded their CMS several times. This ensures the security and stability of the site, and makes the process for future updates more streamlined — reducing the time (and money!) Sutin spends on maintenance.

Carefully Managed Upgrade Process

Screenshot of Screenshots of documents used for upgrade process, including audit and scheduling

Peace of Mind

As valuable as our strategic web solutions are to Sutin, what they love most about working with us is the peace of mind we bring. We make sure their site is fast and works great on mobile devices. We make sure every new request for a change to the site makes sense for both Sutin staff and site visitors. And we make sure they always know what is going on.

Director of Marketing & Communications Kelly Brewer says it best: “Bright Umbrella provides the most intelligent and effective conversations for the web project our lawyers have experienced.”

Detailed Project Management Keeps Projects On Time & On Budget

Screenshot of Collage of project management tools, including to-dos in Basecamp, user manual documentation and audit tracking

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