Law Firm Reputation Management: Control the Damage from One Negative Review

One of the most common questions we get from attorneys who contact us for an initial consultation is “what can we do to get rid of a negative review?”

One frustrated former client or disgruntled former employee can write a negative review with untrue or misleading information about the law firm. What can be done?

The answer depends on the depth of the law firm’s internet presence. For instance, some law firms have almost no internet presence. Therefore, when you Google the name of their law firm or an individual lawyer working for the firm then one of the first things to pop up on the search engine is the negative review.

Obviously, this one review can make a huge impact on the business because it makes up a huge portion of the law firm’s on-line presence. However, for law firms with little or no internet presence, the best cure for a negative review is to create numerous pages of positive information about the law firm on hundreds of powerful websites.

For law firms that have begun the process of creating a strong internet presence, fighting negative reviews requires strengthening the ranks for the positive material so that the few pieces of negative content are more difficult to find. Contact Internet LAVA to discuss how we can help you quickly create a professional and powerful on-line presence.

When You Find a Negative Review Try and Correct the Concern

For most attorneys, when a negative review is posted the attorney knows exactly who posted the negative review. When possible, contact the former client and offer solutions to address their concerns. The client will often be impressed that their voice is being heard. The source of their frustration is often feeling powerless. By responding to their concerns immediately you are showing the client that you care about their opinion and that you are willing to help make them satisfied with your services.

In other cases, the attorney or law firm may not know who posted the negative review. In many of these cases, one negative review serves as a wake up call to the business to pay attention to difficult clients and try to stay in close communication with them so that their concerns and frustrations are heard.

When that One Negative Review Actually Helps Your Reputation

With a powerful internet presence, one negative review has almost no impact. In fact, it may actually help the business because it shows that other reviews and information about the law firm are also genuine. In other words, the numerous positive reviews for the law firm become more powerful when the viewer also sees one negative review. No viewer would believe that any business could have nothing but positive reviews. So the viewer tends to trust the positive reviews more when they also see one isolated negative review.

Getting Numerous Positive Reviews of Your Law Firm

Getting positive reviews tends to happen naturally as you increase your internet presence. When your clients tend to find you through your on-line presence, they also tend to be the types of clients that would leave a review about your business. Depending on the bar rules for your particular state, you can send your client a closing letter inviting them to make a comment about the quality of your legal services on one of your business listings that makes leaving such a review particularly convenient. Make sure to not ask for a review until the representation is completely concluded.

Most of our clients report that during the initial consultation the potential client will mention, “I decided to hire you because I read a lot of positive reviews about your practice.” These same types of clients tend to be the type of person most likely to leave a positive review at the end of the representation if they are highly satisfied with the attorney’s services. As these reviews become more and more common, managing your on-line reputation also becomes more important.

The Future of On-Line Reputation Management for Attorneys

The internet has consistently changed businesses and entire industries by making information more readily available. It should come as no surprise to attorneys that these reviews by former clients are expected to increase exponentially over the coming years.

As bar associations struggle with ways to manage an attorney’s efforts to advertise on-line, the market place is quickly sorting out the regulation of shady attorneys with incredibly efficiency.

Although not a perfect system, if all clients left reviews about all dealing with all attorneys the public would have a tremendous amount of information at their disposal. Over the next five years we predict these types of comprehensive reviews of attorneys (and all business people in the service industry) will be more common place. Those attorneys and law firms that get control of their on-line reputations early will have a clear advantage.

How Can I Create this Comprehensive On-line Presence for My Law Firm?

At Internet LAVA we create an entire on-line presence for the attorney so that the entire first three pages of Google are content about the law firm and attorneys that we create. For instance, our attorneys have the following on-line presence when you Google their name:

  1. The law firm’s main website;
  2. The law firm’s main blog;
  3. On-line business profiles or local business listings on the map function of Google, Bing and Yahoo;
  4. Facebook Business Profile;
  5. Merchant Circle Business Profile (similar to Facebook for small businesses but better for SEO purposes);
  6. LinkedIn profiles for each attorney and for the law firm (these often show up at the top of the search engines especially for the names of the individual attorneys);
  7. Law firm and attorney specific business profiles such as LawLink profile for each individual attorney, an AVVO profile for each individual attorney, and a Justia / Cornell LII profile for each individual attorney;
  8. Other professional profiles such as BizNik and Naymz; and
  9. Hundreds of other business and attorney profiles on some of the most powerful websites such as Insider Pages and Yelp.

Our Problem is Bigger Than One Negative Review

For certain types of legal practices, negative reviews are more common just because of the type of clients that they represent. For example, individuals in family law cases tend to be very emotional when a ruling doesn’t go their way. After all, the individual’s personal wealth and child custody issues can be affected. Obviously, family law attorneys have to be careful to manage the expectations of their clients and to stay in close contact with them about the developments in their case.

The less obvious answer involves being aware of the negative review as soon as it is posted. By knowing about it when it occurs, you are in the best position to contact that client to discuss their frustration with them. In many cases, you can ask the person to take down the negative review. Just the fact that you contact them to discuss their frustration may make a difference in the way they view the situation.

However, if you don’t know about the negative review for several months then your options are more limited. Additionally, the individual that posted the review becomes harder to identify and harder to contact. Even if you discuss the matter with the individual months later, they would be less likely to take down the review given the lack of a timely response.

Our Solutions – We Help You Own Your Name On-line

Working with an internet marketing company that cares about your on-line reputation is equally important. Attorneys understand that their reputation is everything. These attorneys work hard to impress the other attorneys, judges, and business people that they come into contact with each day. As internet marketing becomes increasingly important, attorneys will also start to realize that their on-line reputation will become influence their off-line reputation as well.

Contact Internet LAVA to discuss your internet marketing needs. We would with attorneys interested in dominating the search engines for their particular practice areas in their particular jurisdictions. We work with medium and large law firms to manage their on-line reputation. Contact us today at 1-800-292-LAVA (5282) for a free consultation to discuss your concerns and long-term goals.

Read more about: Law Firm Reputation Management

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One Comment

  1. Posted January 10, 2014 at 10:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Child abuse by design

    To all those with morals and to all those who love all children, that this David J. Glass Esq. PhD would giggle & laugh at me while waiting to see the judge. Shortly after this attached letter dated 2-12-2012 was received by the community of Malibu, CA this David J. Glass Esq. PhD conspired to injure a 3rd party (myself) , suborned perjury and falsified evidence just before he closed down his practice and went to FMBK Law.The CA State Bar has just received a 2nd complaint regarding this matter.

    Hollander

    2-12-12 Mr. Graham J Miller

    REGARDING CHILD ABUSE

    To The Principals of Malibu Elementary Schools and To Whom it may concern within the LAUSD and SMMUSD administrations, Directors or other persons.

    Dear Sir Madam or MS,

    I am writing to you firstly as a parent. I have a child in a Malibu public school. I am also writing as a Citizen, and therefore concerned in a more global manner with issues that I personally find disturbing and relevant. I believe a possible failure to perform to ethical codes of several professions, let alone what any normal person may find to be reasonable is about to, and could in the future lead to embarrassment, public consternation and at best a complete lack of faith ,trust and confidence in the above agencies.

    I have recently been informed by my daughter Lily-Jane Faith Miller that her mother has taken her out of Callahan elementary (Northridge); and she is now at some school in Malibu district. (Grade 2)

    My reasons for my concern follow.

    Within the Malibu school district there is a teacher, (C Cullen) who has accused her ex-husband of two counts of sexual abuse of their son, and 5 other counts of abuse of their son (11). This alleged abuse according to Ms. Cullen and her Attorney took place over the past 5 years.

    I would like a notation in my daughter’s file that she is never to be placed in class with the above person as her “(my daughters)” teacher. I apologize in in that I amenable to provide more details on my daughter’s whereabouts (school) but her Mom has not provided that info. I’m sure Dr Jacob the principal at Callahan would be able to assist.

    In MS Cullen’s divorce and custody case she utilized the services of a Mr. D Glass Esq.(Attorney) Mr Glass is also a PhD in Psychology .Mr. Glass was also utilized by the mother of my daughter, Lily -Jane in my own divorce and custody matter. Mr. Glass a Psychologist/ Attorney and mandated reporter saw fit to bring allegations of sexual abuse of a child and 4 allegations of other forms of abuse of MS Cullen’s son Sammy before family court. These all were investigated by the Police DCFS, and the District Attorney. They were found to be without either Medical or Credentialed 3rd party verification and closed therefore as unsubstantiated. These allegations were brought by MS Cullen via the services of Mr. Glass and occurred regularly before the summer school break on a yearly basis. MS Cullen had also recently remarried a Mr Brian Winsick another Teacher and coach in the Conejo Valley. Their marriage took place just prior to the allegations beginning.

    I will now outline my concerns and reasons for the request of the notation in my daughters file.

    It is my belief that the relationship between this teacher Ms. Cullen and her attorney and my own ex-wife and the same attorney is cause for reasonable concern. That to avoid any unfortunate incident where god forbid I was to be accused by my daughter’s mother of something similar as MS Cullen accused her ex-husband of it is imperative no establish able link is in place as could lead to suspicion of collusion. The worst case scenario that Ms. Cullen at some time becomes my daughters teacher and subsequently claims are made that perhaps my daughter had inferred to MS Cullen that I had abused her ( Lily-Jane) and MS Cullen then could relate this to my daughters mother through their mutual attorney, or contact at school is beyond horrific. I feel the separation of my daughter and this teacher protects LAUSD/SMMUSD and my daughter and me.

    In a more global sense I am concerned that a teacher married to another teacher and coach and an attorney who is also licensed as a psychologist made no attempt to make aware the LAUSD or the SMUSD of their concerns. (Two allegations of Sexual abuse and five other allegations of abuse.) Surely some ethical codes of their respective professions would demand other relevant or parties who could be impacted be advised.

    When a teacher finds the resources to pay $500 an hour to a Beverly Hills Attorney for 5 years surely there is a need for verification that such allegations will bring in terms of the expenses the County and State will bear during the protracted conflict. Especially if the accused has been made indigent by the continued claims and has suffered stress or work issues stemming from such accusations and is no longer paying taxes.

    As a parent I certainly would be outraged if I knew my child’s teacher was aware of a legitimate abuse situation and if, as in this case it included Sexual Abuse allegations and that teacher did nothing to bring attention to it as could protect other children I would expect answers. Specifically why and how a person(s) (2 Teachers, (Coach), An Attorney/Psychologist) would go ahead and consciously disregard accusations of such a serious nature, and then they having brought these allegations before family court and the district attorney go ahead and let other parents arrange activities with the person they were accusing of abuse in a manner as would expose other children to the accused.

    What is more disturbing and I expect the press will find disturbing is that repeated allegations of this nature are often utilized in family conflicts and that this is acceptable is in fact a failure of morality within our society. I believe this failure may have had a profound societal impact.

    That the failure of an application of evidentiary standards as are normally applied in criminal matters may have allowed credentialed persons possibly with questionable motive to use family court in a manipulative and deceitful way to achieve their own ends appears to me to be worthy of consideration.

    This epidemic of claims of abuse of children caught in such situations, (family breakups) versus children, who suffer actual abuse , desensitizes the general public and governmental agencies and allows real and dangerous criminals to hide and operate with virtual impunity in our society. It is beyond Peter and the Wolf it is an ongoing crime against humanity. To falsely perpetrate something that I believe leads to what we are now facing in the LAUSD and SMMUSD and may have exacerbated, perpetuated and indeed by lack of action condoned events and actions that possibly has led to emotional; mental and even physical harm to any child is heinous.

    I believe because of the actions as I have described many prior red flags have been ignored in many abuse situations and much suffering and harm and expense could have been avoided if a less commonplace attitude of children was the norm.

    Indeed in the immediate situation with (C Cullen, B Winsick )either the allegations were scurrilous and a product of vitriol, and an attorney(PhD Psych) with who knows what motivation (7 Claims) and that these claims were worthy of public expense .Or these persons were aware the claims they were bringing were false and therefore not worthy of reporting to LAUISD/SMUSD or other parents.? The alternative is an admission of negligent lack of reasonable due diligence and surely a great lack of concern for the school both pupils and other teachers and parents has been flagrantly displayed in total disregard for the safety and welfare of minors. Whether this is or should be a concern for the bond holders of these persons I do not know. Mr. Glass, Glass family Law and former associate of (Kolodny & Anteau) One of the most respected family law firms in the United States (Mel Gibson Getty, etc.) has been investigated by the CA Bar already in this matter and while the complaint was not upheld a letter suggesting the possibility of civil redress was issued by them.

    The APA also found he did no wrong apparently within their own ethics code.

    The fact remains an Attorney/Psychologist and a Teacher and a Teacher/Coach surely have some duty to the community. The positions of trust and respect they are afforded should allow the general public a reasonableness within their expectation of propriety and protection of the innocent by such credentialed persons.

    Perhaps the LAUSD/SMUSD could incorporate or suggest to the CA Bar a cooperative relationship of a professional nature that would allow this protection to be afforded our children as well as draft a code for the LAUSD/SMUSD’s own employees in such situations.

    Certainly recent events could lead one to surmise that a better clarified way of maintaining the safety and welfare of our children, from both bonifide and false claims of abuse would be helpful. The harm that both real and imagined events can bring to families, as well as collateral persons and an institution such as children’s learning environment should be minimalized at all times.

    Sincerely Yours,

    Graham J Miller.

    885 Avenue of the Americas

    Penthouse 1A

    New York. NY. 10001

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