American Bar Association

Modernizing One of the Worlds Largest Professional Organizations

The American Bar Association (ABA) is one of the largest professional organizations in the world. With just over 4 million annual members, the organization dedicates itself to promoting the rule of law across over 50 individual law practice specialties.

In 2016, the ABA approached Code and Theory for a new website redesign. Not only did the ABA need a new and modern brand revamp to remain relevant with young lawyers, but they also needed an entirely new and modern platform that could support all the individual business needs of each specific law practice group. These activities include collecting membership dues with extremely complex pricing structures, selling physical and digital goods, organizing meetings and large multi-day events, and supporting Continuing Law Educational (“CLE”) accreditation on a national scale.

This project established a new CMS (AEM), a new single sign-on experience, a new ecommerce platform, new search integration, a bespoke meeting & event registration system, and an asynchronous messaging queue that could ensure all these systems sync with one another without performance issues.

  • Drive membership conversion and retention, with a special focus on a waning young audience
  • Increase revenue from other non-membership sources, such as products and meetings
  • Monetize premium content, as it is a primary member benefit through cross sell and promotion & restructure advertising so that it is more profitable
  • Give law practices specialty groups their own space and tools while maintaining a consistent brand experience for the organization
  • Establish editorial governance with necessary roles, responsibilities and skills to support and maintain the quality and consistency
  • Automate the migration of over 100 years of archival content maintained on the existing site

Technical Execution

  • Migration from CQ 5.5 to AEM 6.2
  • Automated content migration with Code and Theory AEM migration tool
  • Integration of AEM with SSO for both public customers and internal staff authors
  • SSO and content integration with over a dozen external 3rd parties
  • Highly integrated customer activity tracking, including Continuing Legal Education credits for courses taken
  • Personalized content feeds based on professional specialty and website behavior
  • Real-time systems integration with complex legacy environment
  • Highly complex search features that take full advantage of Solr and our custom AEM integration that dramatically improves the OOTB AEM search capabilities.
  • Accessible, mobile-first content experience

After many months of collaboration, ABA’s new site was launched in October 2018.

  • Highly complex integration of new and legacy systems
  • Completely revamped search capabilities
  • Significant analytics development gives the ABA full visibility into all operational details, including front-end errors and commerce performance
  • Detailed tracking of primary conversion flows for funnel optimization and KPI reporting
  • Federated reporting across OUs to report how members interact with content across verticals
  • A very wide-and-deep website now surfaces relevant content, improving bounce rate by 10%