PowerPoints Reviewed For Top Law Firms

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PowerPoint Presentations from Top Law Firms Reviewed (Plus Download Their Templates For Free)

Whether they're used to sum up evidence in a courtroom or to organize material for a presentation, law PowerPoints are pervasive. One estimate suggests that a law PowerPoint presentation is given about 60,000 times a day in the U.S. legal industry. That equals about 6,000 legal PowerPoint presentations every hour of a 10-hour day, including opening and closing arguments in court, sessions at professional conferences, and presentations to judges, clients, and students.

The combined revenue of the world’s top 200 law firms exceeded $100 billion in 2015. We can extrapolate that compelling law PowerPoint templates and presentations have contributed to a good portion of that revenue. A strong, well-designed presentation can truly make the difference. Here, we review some of the looks and strategies behind law PowerPoint templates from some of the top 10 firms in the U.S. If you’re part of a law firm that needs a new template or if you're simply interested in learning more about PowerPoint design, read on.

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1. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates

With approximately 1,700 attorneys globally, Sadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates provides legal advice that companies across a wide spectrum of industries need.

What works well:

  • Everything about this template announces a strong presence, from the bold white-on-red logo to the list of cities in which the firm has offices.
  • The look is contemporary, innovative and clean, and it’s entirely consistent with the firm’s website design.
  • Slide 2 announces what’s to come in a minimalist way, but it serves an important purpose – telling the audience what to expect. Taking time to provide markers for your viewers is a key point in effective delivery, whether you’re making legal presentations or less formal presentations.

What can be improved:

  • Given the effective design, slides 4-5 could use hints of the red accents that work well on previous slides.
  • Later slides get somewhat heavy on text, which is a concern for any law presentation and presentations in other industries as well.

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2. Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Sullivan & Cromwell enjoys a reputation for the highest quality of lawyers and work, and the firm's record of achievement results from the efforts of excellent staff, both legal and support.

What works well:

  • The template presents a professional, accomplished look, suitable for a top 10 law firm. The colors are conservative but warm and slightly outside of a standard palette, suggesting both trustworthiness and inventiveness. The look is again, in step with the firm’s website.
  • The simple repetition of the logo in the lower left-hand corner makes sense for the presentation’s audience – clients of the firm.

What can be improved:

  • It’s a bit of a relief to arrive at slide 13 and its pie charts, after multiple text-heavy slides. For any presentation, including a law PowerPoint, the focus should be on the outcome of the presentation, delivered with the minimum amount of information needed to achieve that outcome.
  • Slides 16-20 introduce tables with their own fonts and color scheme. However, the amount of text on those slides results in a somewhat jumbled look and feel.

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3. Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie collaborates across borders, markets, and industries around the world. The firm is committed to helping clients navigate a changing and challenging global market.

What works well: • Every slide is dynamic, with photos, icons, colors or other additional graphic elements. The design helps deliver the message, slide after slide.

• This template makes terrific use of stock icon graphics to illustrate and bring a point to life. This is a simple graphic touch that can be used in almost any PowerPoint, whatever the business. For example, compare Slide 10 of Baker McKenzie’s PowerPoint with slide 6 of Deloitte’s black background PowerPoint. Both integrate three icons with color and text to make perfectly clear points — much easier to digest than text-only bullet points.

• The design effectively ties into the color and feel of the firm’s website, with a tone that is both authoritative and current.

• Slide 2 announces: “Agenda,” which gives the audience a roadmap to the presentation. Each section header page that follows it lets the audience know where they stand. These are vital components in any presentation that has a degree of complexity.

• Slides 20-21 support arguments about investing in creative, dynamic presentation design to get the kind of PowerPoint you need to deliver your information or argument. These are professional-level graphics, like the rest of the presentation, that are both eye-catching and successful. Imagine how effective courtroom presentations with this level of design could be.

What can be improved: • A few slides get somewhat text-heavy and could be broken up into multiple slides.

• The timeline on slide 33 gets complicated and is difficult to see.

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4. Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Davis Polk provides clients with sophisticated advice and creative, practical solutions while understanding the full legal landscape, market practice and clients’ businesses and objectives.

What works well: • The main colors in this law PowerPoint tie back to the firm’s website and its modular, modern feel.

• Slides 1-3 are devoted to headshot photos of the presenters and their bios, which add authority, warmth, and assurance about the information being presented.

• Even when slides are heavy on text, they incorporate elements such as color, underscoring and bold to add emphasis and deliver the message.

What can be improved: • Slides 8 and 9 feature black type on a blue background, which is not especially easy to read, and the slides are crowded with type.

• The logo in the lower left-hand corner appears to use a capital letter I in “Davis,” rather than the correct lowercase version.

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5. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz operates out of one New York office and follows the vision of its founders – a cohesive team of lawyers focused on solving clients' most important problems.

What works well:

  • This template is about as no-nonsense and straightforward as they come. It privileges information over design, sending a message that the content is serious and meaningful. Like the other law PowerPoints we’ve looked at, it ties directly back into the law firm’s website.
  • The information is well argued and supported, as we would expect from a top 10 law firm.
  • The simple table on slide 5 is welcome, as is the graph on slide 6.

What can be improved:

  • The presentation misses opportunities to break up the text with graphic elements – to show rather than tell. Reading from text can actually adversely affect how audiences learn if they see and hear the text at the same time. Such a situation is called the redundancy effect, which relates to humans’ inability to process information effectively when it is presented simultaneously, orally and visually. One study indicates that people retain less information when they receive it orally and visually at the same time.
  • The amount of text and number of bullet points on each slide threatens to overwhelm the audience. Presenters should always be mindful of providing the audience with breathing room to more effectively deliver the message.

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6. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

Gibson Dunn is an international law firm whose 1,200+ lawyers work together in interdisciplinary, global teamwork to deliver effective, efficient products to clients.

What works well:

  • This PowerPoint, for a panel presentation, is another solid match to the firm’s identity presented on its website. The light blue bar and multi-hued band on slide 1 provide a dynamic touch, while the listing of global offices establishes authority.
  • Slide 2 introduces the panel, again with headshots and bios. Especially for formal presentations, this is a sure way to establish rapport with and win trust from your audience.
  • Slide 3 is a nice design take on the presentation’s discussion topics – why not use a horizontal list when you can?
  • Slides 5-6 are good examples of using graphics to dissect and direct the flow of information, making it more comprehensible.
  • “Key Takeaways” (Slide 14) is a terrific way to conclude a presentation because it gives your audience a quick and easy reminder of what you wanted them to learn.

What can be improved:

  • The gray type on slide 4 is somewhat difficult to read since it is slightly too light.
  • Slides 8-11 are a bit repetitive in their design and a bit too heavy on text.
  • The timetable on slide 12 is important, but it is difficult to read despite well-defined components. A handout would nicely accompany this slide.

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7. Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP

With approximately 1,100 lawyers, Weil, Gotshal, and Manges, LLP combines skill and local-market presence to deliver coordinated legal advice that helps clients achieve their goals and objectives.

What works well:

  • The slightly unexpected use of colors – green, black and white. Green, of course, can signify money along with a freshness and clarity.
  • The template is for a pro bono presentation, and it is generous with information. It does not skimp.

What can be improved:

  • An index would be helpful so audiences know where the presentation is going.
  • Many slides are crowded with text and should be broken into 2-3 slides each while maintaining the appropriate section heading.
  • Simple graphic elements could do a great deal to deliver the valuable information in this law presentation more effectively.

The Takeaway

Whether you are making a courtroom presentation or a corporate pitch, a sharp PowerPoint template can help you make your case. Use these quick tips, gathered from each of the templates above, as quick reminders of best practice.

Top Tips for Terrific PowerPoints

  • Use a design that makes a statement about your organization and coordinates with other organizational branding pieces, such as your website.
  • Choose a palette that is consistent with your identity, yet makes you stand out.
  • Incorporate strong design elements and let them tell the story on every slide.
  • Gain audience trust by adding warmth with headshots and bios when appropriate.
  • Practice your presentation and use the PowerPoint as a tool to deliver just the right message.
  • Include takeaways or another form of conclusion.
  • Opt for the occasional unexpected, but effective element.

If this article was useful and gave you some hints about effective PowerPoint presentations, you might want to check out our blog post about best-in-class presentations from consulting firms.

If you need to create a PowerPoint or take yours to the next level, we’re here 24/7 to help. If you have ideas for what else you’d like to read about or learn here, please leave a comment. Thanks for reading!


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