Legacy CMS migration to Kentico

Improving customer experience, and the lives of website editors, by replatforming onto Kentico


Potter Clarkson is one of Europe’s foremost firms of patent and trademark attorneys. They advise clients around the globe on intellectual property rights in biotechnology, chemistry, engineering, computing, and a plethora of related areas.

The brief

While Potter Clarkson were happy with the look and feel of their recently redesigned website, the legacy content management system powering the site was preventing the easy maintenance of the site.

The old website had a dedicated mobile version, the design of which was out of sync with their desktop version. Furthermore, tablet visitors - a growing segment of their traffic - were having to navigate via a scaled-down version of the desktop site.

Potter Clarkson approached Distinction with a view to replacing the CMS with a more capable and stable system. Following a thorough review of their requirements, both immediate and long term, Distinction recommended Kentico as the best platform for the job.

Potter Clarkson


The primary goal was to recreate and enhance all of the existing site’s functionality within a stable, secure, and future-proof platform. As well as being insecure, buggy, and no longer supported by its developers, the legacy CMS was difficult to use and even basic changes to content could have unexpected consequences.

A secondary goal was to provide a better experience for visitors using mobile and tablet devices, by implementing a combination of responsive and adaptive design techniques.


One challenge of the project was to import all of the content from the legacy website. As well as a handful of pages, this included over 60 people profiles, over 100 news stories, over 400 events, plus hundreds of images, PDFs, and other files. Distinction’s developers used Kentico’s powerful API to migrate all this data quickly, easily, and (most crucially) accurately.

How we did it

The first step was a comprehensive consultation period, during which the developers documented the functionality provided by the legacy CMS, its drawbacks, usability issues, and areas for improvement. The legacy CMS in question was a custom built PHP-based system that had powered the site for nearly seven years and was insecure, unstable, and difficult to use.

The development team then fully specified the technical requirements for the project. The majority of the required CMS functionality was provided out-of-the-box by Kentico CMS, however, some custom development was required in order to make the site work precisely as desired by Potter Clarkson, including:

Multi-platform design for Potter Clarkson

People management – One of the main ways Potter Clarkson markets themselves is on the strength of the expertise and experience of their attorneys and other employees. Within the 'People' area of the site, users can access information on every individual within the company. Content throughout the site can be 'tagged' to a given employee, providing natural navigation pathways for users to discover new content and find relevant people to contact.

News, IP updates and events – These areas represent Potter Clarkson’s most frequently changing content on the site, so it was important to make the creation of these items quick and easy while maximising their SEO benefit. These items are displayed on the throughout the site, where they can be filtered in real-time using AJAX filters for type of article, sector, year published, and related people.

Careers – Potter Clarkson uses the popular Octopus HR system for managing their recruitment process, separate from the website. Through this website, candidates can upload their CV and other information in order to apply for a vacancy with the firm. Rather than duplicating vacancy information in Kentico and linking each vacancy through to the relevant job on Octopus, the website was integrated with Octopus' API directly, presenting information on each open role, including a link to Octopus for candidates to apply through.

Search – Research showed that users search the site looking for three distinct types of content: information pages, people profiles, and news and events. A custom search index and bespoke filtering enables users to find the information they want as quickly as possible.

Foreign language content – Potter Clarkson is a truly international company and the site is available in Korean, Japanese, and Chinese. Utilising Kentico's out-of-the-box support for multiple cultures, we were able to cater for this quite easily.

Project highlights

In addition to a greatly improved website editor experience, we've given Potter Clarkson a fantastic platform on which to build in future.

The new site has had a tangible effect on key visitor metrics too, reducing bounce rate by 26%, increasing page views by 51%, and keeping visitors engaged for 41% longer than the previous website. All of this by making a few key changes to the design and structure of the site to provide a better user experience.

A welcome bonus of replatforming from their old CMS to Kentico has been the 50% quicker page load time, huge increase in stability and security.

What do Potter Clarkson say?

Philip MorrisPractice Manager

“Managing our website's growing content was becoming increasingly difficult and time-consuming, so we decided it was time to move to something new and more powerful. We also decided to take this opportunity to make the new site fully responsive and improve a few aspects of the design in the process. Distinction successfully reproduced, and then improved, the old site’s functionality and migrated all of our content to the new site.

The process was smooth, well-managed, and was delivered on time and budget. Content administrators love working with the new site - they find everything really intuitive and easy to use – and we’re delighted with our website’s new responsive design. An extra bonus is that the new site is around twice as fast as the old one!”

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