Website Governance Guide


This guide provides a centralized governance framework for the ongoing development, deployment, delivery, and maintenance of Columbia Law School’s website by establishing standard processes, roles, responsibilities, and practices.

All website access issues should be routed to [email protected] 



The Law School’s website is the joint domain of two departments: the Communications team, which is responsible for all content, visual style, user experience design, and managing web governance approved front-end development in conjunction with the IT team; and the IT team, which is responsible for triage, users, permissions, database management, CU IT collaboration, and technological infrastructure. These two teams work together to manage the larger website. 

The website is divided into several smaller components, called microsites. These microsites typically correspond with a particular administrative unit (e.g., the Business Office), functional area (e.g., J.D. Admissions), or research center (e.g., the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law). 

These microsites are divided into two groups: Core and Non-Core. The Core Site includes the Law School’s primary external-facing pages that garner the highest proportion of web traffic. The Non-Core site is comprised of the balance of pages, including those for administrative offices, centers and programs, and student groups. 

Each microsite must have a dedicated web editor. The owner (or owning unit or organization) is responsible for designating a web editor. 


Web editors are responsible for maintaining their designated department’s, center’s, or program’s microsite. 

Web editing includes: 


Access to the website’s editing environment will be provided by the IT team. These credentials are to be used by that user and that user only. Sharing of login credentials will result in a revocation of permissions. The Management Team will periodically review the activity of all users and may modify or remove permissions for users that have been inactive for an extended period of time. To request additional content editors or modifications to existing permissions, please contact [email protected].

Required Training for Main Site ( 

User credentials are assigned through IT. Please review the Drupal web editor’s guide for our main site. 

Training for the main Law School site is held twice a semester. Send issues and training requests to: [email protected]

Required Training for CU IT Sites: 
Before receiving the necessary credentials, Editors must complete required trainings. Only editors who have been formally trained will be given access to the content management system. The following three training programs are required for all web editors:

How to Use Columbia Sites, Content Strategy and Search Engine Optimization
Columbia Sites Accessibility
Law School Branding and Style Guide
Web Management Training 

Editors will be required to be familiar with the CU Sites User Guide as part of their ongoing web editor responsibilities. 

To arrange for training, please contact [email protected] 

Quality Control/Workflow

While each site is different and needs to vary greatly across the Law School, it is important that web editors take responsibility for determining their own internal workflow. Here are some relevant guidelines: 

When changes are made to existing pages, it is always wise to seek out a second person to review the webpage(s) content before publishing.

Web content should be kept for no more than three years. Content should be updated with relevant content as much as possible. If there is important content that needs to be kept for posterity offline, please store the content in another form (such as, a google drive document tied to your uni account) as the website is not an archive for all content that has been published at any given time. 

When creating new pages, seek out the expertise of the Communications team for input on design, content strategy, navigation, and quality assurance testing.

Always refer to the Law School’s style guides to ensure consistency in the use of visual identity and messaging

When our new core website (law.columbia.ed) is launched, all new content entries to the Law School’s website will be reviewed by the Management Team prior to being published.

The Communications team will audit the entire website on a periodic basis and will have the ability to correct issues such as blatant spelling mistake(s) or factual error(s) without consultation with the relevant web editor. If errors of this sort are recurring, the Communications team will relay the concern to the manager of the area and may suspend editing privileges until it is resolved. 

In addition, as part of its audit, the Communications team may be in touch with web editors to convey feedback, including detailing required changes (alterations necessary to be in compliance), requests (alterations that are preferred and would better align a page with relevant standards), and recommendations (suggested improvements that would enhance the quality or performance of a site but are unrelated to issues of compliance). In addition, the team will also review all news and events entries for spelling, grammar, and style. 

The Law School’s Office of Communications has access to all areas of the Columbia Law School website and to ensure quality control, will edit/alter content as needed for clarity, grammar, spelling, usage, and style, as well as to conform with university naming conventions and branding. The school reserves the right to revise or delete content housed either on school IT resources or external resources that do not meet acceptable use guidelines or the standards outlined in this policy.

The only course description which can appear on the Law School’s web properties is the Registrar’s Office description. Web editors should link to the course as it appears on the course catalog page. Editors cannot post a link to a Word Document or a PDF that includes the department’s own course description. The Office of Communications reserves the right to take down such links.

Columbia Law School is on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram
To learn about best practices for social media, suggesting content on for our social media channels, as well as appropriate branding please contact: [email protected]

Departments and Centers should contact [email protected] prior to launching mobile applications to ensure the applications follow Columbia Law School branding standards.

Yearly Communications reviews the analytics and content of its web properties. We recommend you try to review your analytics at least once a semester.

Websites hosted through CU IT’s site’s platform may review their own google analytics on their own. Questions on how to do so should be send to IT by [email protected] 

All changes are to be posted and all pertinent parties notified of major changes and or outages, third-party integrations, operations, and capacity planning (with reports and metrics from our hosting vendor). Appropriate change management and communications with the hosting provider will be followed. The IT Department will post all major planned events on the IT webpage.

Even though some departments may be able to make financial investments for web work on their behalf, all work orders must be approved by the Web Governance Board. This is also the case for any request for proposals issued for website work.

All content will be held and propagated to the site using the Law School's approved Content Management System and its implemented version. No other software product may be used within Columbia Law School. Additional sites, upon approval, may be linked to when appropriate. All content editors are expected to ensure all “links” are live, tested, and appropriately implemented.

All web editors should familiarize themselves and follow the ADA Compliance guidelines. IT Web Services will run all site pages through a W3C compliant validation product, currently, CynthiaSays™, to ensure 508C compliance. 

For users with websites hosted on CU IT's Sites platform, their Accessibility course is required training for all content contributors and web editors.