I have come across multiple defense law firms that offer a quote unquote ADA website audit, and I highly recommend that you do not go through a defense law firm for an audit. While they may be familiar with the plaintiff’s law firms that they deal with, they do not understand accessibility and they are very likely using the results from one or more scans, cobbling those together, and then returning those results as an audit. That is not an audit, and that is not in any way an airtight way to make your website accessible and prevent litigation.
To prevent litigation, you do not necessarily have to make your website fully WCAG conformant, but you do have to address the issues that plaintiff’s law firms are looking for. Defense law firms think they know what plaintiff’s law firms are looking for, but I’m extremely doubtful that their audits are actually looking for and covering all of the accessibility issues that plaintiff’s law firms are claiming in litigation. I think it may work for some plaintiff’s law firms, but definitely not all.
While that audit may be helpful, it’s really not what you need, and it’s probably paying a much inflated price for scans, results that you can get for free. I am extremely skeptical of any audits. I think defense law firms have decided that this was a good upsell. That would seemingly sound good, right? If you’re going to a defense law firm and you’re talking to their attorney and the attorney tells you, look, we’ve got an audit. We know what plaintiff’s law firms are looking for. Use our audit so this way that you don’t get sued again. That sounds very appealing.
The problem is they’re not paying attention to detail and they don’t understand accessibility and they’re likely pulling results from the most popular automated scans, which the results from automated scans, I do recommend that anybody look at those and try to get the scans as to as few alerts and errors as possible. I recommend that, but that’s not the end of it. I am, I very much doubt that defense law firms are spending the time and attention necessary to truly audit a website, even just to prevent litigation, let alone WCAG conformance.
I don’t think they know how to audit to prevent litigation, but I am very certain that they do not have the requisite skill, expertise, knowledge, and or time to be sitting there and have someone audit a website. I don’t think law firms have incorporated this system where they are now auditing websites manually because it’s a very low margin business and it’s something that really requires attention to detail. I don’t think defense law firms have done that.
What I think they’ve done is they’ve found out that many plaintiffs law firms use scans and they think that if they put together a package of the most popular scans and they charge $1,000, $1,500 for that package, then their clients, they don’t, they can save money on these expensive accessibility audits that the accessibility providers are offering and they can keep all the money for themselves. Well, while that may, they may think that they have figured it out, they have not.