What CMS Do the Legal 500 Use? A Shortlist Guide for UK and Us Law Firms



July 4, 2024


The CMS is the sole entry point for the content that drives reputation, voice, and customer trust. 

The front end of a CMS, the part that customers or prospects see) can be delivered using a traditional CMS or a headless framework; most popular CMSs the legal 500 use will have the option to work both ways.

While exploring the pros and cons of headless is useful, this guide looks at the popular CMS types used in the legal space, including comparisons from trusted review platforms.

Today's legal-tech stack

Legal enterprise tech stacks are complex; no single vendor provides all the solutions one organisation needs. Gartner's predictions through 2025 state that legal firms will require relationships with at least four vendors to meet their requirements, with many of the following solutions remaining independent in their own right:

  • Matter management

  • Legal case management

  • Legal spend management

  • E-billing

  • Legal document management

  • Contract lifecycle management (CLM)

  • E-discovery

  • IP management

So, a CMS must be adaptable, flexible, and secure, supporting an ultra-smooth user experience for browsers and internal stakeholders.

The role of the website in the legal space

Legal websites connect people with people. 

In the deciding phase of customer journeys, legal b2b or b2c users must see and understand the people they are potentially working with. Personable, clear UX and good content area must move people through their decision-making journey and build trust.

Creating a professional and personable tone when dealing with sensitive legal topics can be challenging, but it's part of legal client development in 2024. According to Webfx:

  • 88% of law firms use a blog for client development 

  • 57% of law firm websites have legal articles written in-house

  • 87% of lawyers have a presence on LinkedIn

With that in mind, a website should create a seamless experience for users to browse through rich media types, services and professional LinkedIn profiles.

Users expect a site that works quickly and logically. They expect to follow their curiosity, repeatedly landing on relevant content, including articles, people pages, whitepapers, and even podcasts, to build an overall picture of a legal representative or service. 

Exploring multiple pages of content is part of the not-so-linear customer journey; an easy-to-use CMS backoffice with flexible modules and distinctive design is a must for brands that want to represent themselves as thought leaders in the industry and spark interest.

The legal website's role is to create simple user journeys and great UX that give users a well-rounded view of your team's people and services, no matter how complex the offerings.

The backoffice

The CMS has a big job, starting with the back office setup.  When content editors feel information overload, it translates to the front-end user experience. Confident content editors create great UX empowered by a dynamic backoffice setup, flexible design, and solid architecture—and many CMSs like this are on the market.


The term "¹MACH" has extended far beyond a trend, empowering businesses to choose a CMS that truly fits requirements, meaning firms no longer need to miss out on desired functionalities or pay for something they don't use.

Websites built composably connect via APIs, endpoints, and webhooks, so no applications depend on one another. This means firms can swap and change their technology stack as often as possible (with minimum disruptions).

CMS integrations in legal can help firms in the background, too, streamlining efficiency within marketing, sales, and services teams:

  • Client Intake to Case Management: When a potential client fills out a contact form on the website, their information automatically flows into the case management system.

  • Marketing Automation: Marketing teams can instantly access this data to tailor follow-up emails and newsletters.

  • Sales Tracking: Sales teams can track client engagement and follow-up more effectively, ensuring every lead is noticed.

Good integrations benefit users and internal teams, allowing firms to operate more efficiently while providing a higher level of service to clients. There are many other deal-breaker requirements to consider; let's evaluate the CMS platforms leading the way in the Legal 500 in the UK and US and compare features and functionality side-by-side.

CMS Platforms used by the legal 500

https://www.legal500.com/c/united-states/directory/: See² for the total percentage breakdown of CMSs used within this category according to WhatCMS.

Do Legal 500 firms’ prefer WordPress? 

While the data may provide a window into what leading law firms do, it must be more conclusive.

As you can see from the above chart, 24.3% of firms' websites returned a "CMS not detected". There are a few reasons why this happens:

  • Cloudflare protection or additional security measures can act as a "shield" for websites, making it hard to see what software they use. 

  • Some websites use custom setups that hide the usual signs of which CMS they are using. Our client Russell-Cooke, a top 100 legal firm, uses Orama Studio, powered by Umbraco.

Even with inconclusive data, some platforms, including Wordpress.org, Drupal, and Sitecore, are more popular among leading legal firms. 

As Umbraco Platinum Partners, it's only fair to put Umbraco in the running.

We'll let the data talk (with some insight thrown in).

Popular CMSs within the legal 500 in the UK and US

According to leader software search engine G2, some of the primary user requirements that indicate user satisfaction scores are:

  • Ease of Use

  • Quality of Support

  • Meets Requirements 

  • Ease of Admin 

  • Ease of Setup 

  • Ease of Doing Business With 

  • Likelihood to Recommend

  • Direction of Product 

Data collected 4/7/24 - Stay updated at https://www.g2.com

The above requirements listed above show that Umbraco performs significantly better than WordPress. Even more impressively, they achieve higher satisfaction scores despite having fewer reviews.

 💡 Shortlisting tip: Consider what each CMS can do for you now and how they can grow and adapt as your firm's needs change. A CMS that works well today might become even more valuable, especially if it can easily incorporate new technologies and meet changing client expectations. 

What Gartner, Capterra, TrustRadius, and Software Advice say

G2 isn't the only leading software review platform, so what is the average consensus in the tech world? Here's what Gartner, Capterra, TrustRadius, and Software Advice say about popular CMSs within the legal 500.

Table showing average score of Wordpress, Umbraco, Sitecore, Drupal on G2, Gartner, Capterra and Software advice webites.

*Above: This table shows average scores for 4/7/24. To stay up-to-date on the latest scores, visit providers' websites.

Which legal CMS's scoop awards?

  • The CMS Critic Awards - Recognises top content management systems based on user votes and expert opinions across various categories. https://cmscritic.com/

  • G2's Best CMS Software Products 2024  - Ranks the top CMS software based on user reviews and market data, selecting the top 100 for satisfaction and market presence.

Which platforms scooped what? Here's what we found available for the platforms in question from the above award categories:

Is Umbraco the CMS of choice for legal websites? 

Umbraco is a leading CMS known for its flexibility, extensive integrations, and positive direction, backed by thousands of reviews.

However, more than a leading CMS is needed to guarantee a good website.

Successful projects and great UX happen with a combination of leading technology and implementations, including:

  • Best Practice

  • Design and User Experience

  • Development Expertise

  • Security

  • Scalability and Maintenance

  • Integration with legal software

Introducing Orama Studio for the legal sector

Using Umbraco-based Orama Studio, top 100 law firm Russell-Cooke re-launched its website, increasing organic traffic by 19% within eight weeks of launch!

Orama Studio is a fully customisable, headless CMS solution built for lead generation in the legal sector. Unlike a website builder, Orama Studio is a complete website solution supported by an entire software development and design agency. 

Orama Studio benefits:

  • Faster time-to-market

  • Transparent website costs

  • Lead generation focussed

  • Powered by a market-leading CMS with positive product direction

  • Short development phase

  • Industry-leading security practices

  • Sustainably hosted

  • Headless architecture for seamless integration

  • Customisable templates for quick deployment

  • Enhanced user journeys

  • Your firm as a thought leader

  • Built by Umbraco Platinum Partners

The cost of an Orama Studio web project

What does a full enterprise website project for legal services cost?

Except for Orama Studio, the costs below are estimates based on available research. It's not easy to find rough estimates for a typical enterprise website project on specific platforms, which mirrors a real question asked in the digital industry:

Why is it hard to find transparent costs or estimates for website projects?

Although Orama Studio is flexible and customisable for enterprises to hit their goals, additional consultancy or functionality is available at a transparent cost upon subscription to Orama Studio! ✨

Ready to discover Orama for the legal sector? We're currently offering 1 year free support bringing the whole project cost down to £73,987

Reserve your free demo here or hop on live chat now and speak to our friendly team ✨



¹MACH technology is (microservices, API-first, cloud-native SaaS, headless) according to the not-for-profit industry body MACH Alliance.

²  Full report from whatCMS data: WordPress: 49.23%, CMS Not Detected: 24.25%, SiteCore: 5.34%, Squarespace: 2.06%, Webflow: 1.95%, Drupal: 1.75%, RubyLaw: 1.54%, WooCommerce: 1.44%, ExpressionEngine: 1.23%, Next.js: 1.23%, Craft CMS: 1.23%, Adobe Experience Manager: 1.03%, Wix: 1.03%, Umbraco: 0.93%, Kentico: 0.93%, Episerver: 0.51%, Website down or unavailable: 0.51%, HubSpot: 0.51%, Joomla: 0.51%, Laravel: 0.31%, Django Framework: 0.21%, Statamic: 0.21%, Invalid Url: 0.21%, Duda: 0.21%, Magnolia CMS: 0.21%, concrete5: 0.21%, Sitefinity: 0.21%, GoDaddy Website Builder: 0.10%, Magento: 0.10%, Squiz: 0.10%, Shopify: 0.10%, Contentful: 0.10%, Gatsby: 0.10%, Jalios JCMS: 0.10%, Modx CMS: 0.10%, Not Done: 0.10%, Weebly: 0.10%

Other sources:

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